My name is Jenna Baker and I graduated from Saint Anselm College this past May. Since then I have started my first year of teaching with the Urban Catholic Teacher Corps (UCTC) through Boston College. UCTC is a unique post grad program in which first and second year teachers teach exclusively in urban Catholic schools in the Greater Boston Area while living in community and completing their Masters.
Currently, I teach Algebra I and Geometry at Cristo Rey Boston (CRB) which is a small Catholic school located in the Savin Hill neighborhood of Boston, MA. CRB is part of a network of Cristo Rey schools that serve students of low economic background and provides them with a work study opportunity that subsidizes most of their tuition and provides them with professional work experience as young adults. I have been impressed by my students and their growth, perseverance, and generosity each day.
Although my choice to apply and be a part of UCTC seemed incredibly natural by my senior year on the Hilltop, I never would have imagined pursuing a program like it before coming to Saint A's. Because of the classes that I took and the programs that I was a part of during my four years, I realized the importance of working towards equity in education. Through courses such as Inclusion, Equity and Diversity, I had the opportunity to reflect on the quality of my own education and challenge myself to consider how to establish an equitable learning environment in my future classrooms. In addition to my classes, my involvement in the Meelia Center and Campus Ministry pushed me to ask questions about injustice and human dignity that I still ask myself most days as I process my experiences in the classroom. My Anselmian experiences are truly what ground me through the challenges and triumphs of my first year of teaching.
I am currently teaching second grade in Londonderry, N.H., and could not be happier! Saint Anselm College truly prepared me to be an educator. As a student in the Education department, I gained the knowledge, resources, and valuable experiences that have enabled me to begin my teaching career with confidence. The Saint Anselm faculty was extremely approachable and helpful through every step of the program.
In my junior year, I began assisting Professor Aubrey Scheopner Torres with her research on Competency Education. I now incorporate the recommendations gleaned from this research in my own classroom. Being an education major offered me the opportunity to be a part of unique learning experiences in small group settings which allowed me to collaborate with, foster deep relationships, and create a community with my peers that has provided me with a solid foundation in education. I am so proud to be an alumna of this incredible institution, which will always be my second home.
Before graduating from Saint A's in May 2018, I had already landed a job teaching Physics and Chemistry at Poland Regional High School in Poland, Maine. PRHS is a very progressive school, which focuses immensely on professional development and improving its standards based grading practices. Although Saint Anselm didn't teach me everything I would need to know while working at my new job, it gave me a broad range of background knowledge on best practices in education, and helped me to develop the tools I have needed to hit the ground running in terms of learning a brand new grading system, and contributing greatly to my colleagues professional development! I could not be more thankful for the four years I spent at Saint Anselm College. I don't think I could have been more prepared for the ups and downs of first year teaching, and make no mistake - there have been a plethora of ups and downs - but Saint A's gave me everything I would need to be ready to face all the challenges I have faced, and many more!
My time at Saint A's, as well as my student teaching experience really fostered my value of community. During my student teaching experience I had the opportunity to be a part of a Fashion Show fundraiser for mental health awareness at Pinkerton Academy. This involvement has carried over to my new job, and involvement in school activities at PRHS this year. I have already taken part in the homecoming bonfire fundraiser, where I sat in a dunk tank as students, and other faculty members, paid to dunk me in ice cold water in late September. I have also been more involved in martial arts since I graduated, teaching, taking classes and helping with the Demo Team. I brought the Demo Team to perform at my high school for a fundraiser to benefit Safe Passage, a service learning trip for seniors. It is very clear that my time at Saint A's has given me the desire to become a large part in any community I am involved in!
I graduated from Saint Anselm College in May 2018 with a degree in elementary education, a minor in Spanish, and teaching licenses in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. After graduating in May, I returned to my hometown of Wakefield, Mass., and completed the school year in a preschool classroom to earn an additional certification for early childhood education. In July, I accepted a position as a long term substitute in a fourth grade classroom in a Wakefield public elementary school. Wakefield is my hometown and also the school system in which I attended school, making this job even more special. Thanks to the Education department at Saint Anselm, I felt prepared for everything, from the first phone call offering me an interview to my first weeks in fourth grade. Also, my many internships beginning in my sophomore year through my senior year student teaching helped to prepare me for the many challenges a classroom teacher faces.
Finally, the support shown by the faculty during and since my time at Saint Anselm has encouraged me so much to pursue my dream of teaching. I truly feel that the faculty shared in my joy and happiness when I contacted them to say that I had accepted a teaching position. I look forward to my future in education and it is nice to know my Saint Anselm family is always cheering me on.
I am currently teaching Middle School at Parkside in Manchester and loving every minute. After graduating in May with a degree in History and Secondary Education, I was searching for jobs elsewhere, but secretly hoping to return to Parkside where I student taught. Luckily, in August, I got a call telling me there would be an opening in 7th grade social studies. Two weeks from that call, I had landed my first job in education and was preparing for the school year that would start three weeks later. I could not be more grateful to Saint Anselm for not only introducing me to the school where I hope to work for many years, but also preparing me for the whirlwind that has been my first year of teaching. The variety of placements I was put into for my observations, and the rigor of the program have made me feel confident in the face of any obstacles this year. Thanks to preparation, I have been able to not only survive my first year, but enjoy it and become an active member in the school community. I am currently an advisor for student council and have enjoyed working with the group to plan events for the student and to promote charitable causes.
My connections with the faculty and my opportunities beyond Saint Anselm's campus - particularly my trip to Woodside Priory my junior year - fostered in me a love of education and the confidence to enter the profession. Working in middle school was not my first choice when I came to Saint A's, but I am so glad the department encouraged me to explore it as an option. Without the constant support of the education faculty and their encouragement to find new and exciting experience, I may have never discovered my true calling and passion in teaching middle school.
I am a former softball player and elementary education student at Saint A's. Since graduating in May of 2018, I was hired as a Reading Assistant at the school I student-taught at in Derry, N.H.. Within months, I was called in to interview for a long-term substitute position (in my dream grade - third!) at a different school within the district. After a few months into school, I was officially contracted as a full-time third grade teacher. The coursework I took at Saint Anselm could not have prepared me enough for this journey I have begun. As I am in my first year teaching, there are a lot of little learning moments here and there. The amazing professors in our education department at Saint A's have prepared me to be confident in all that I do. I am thankful to be an Alumni of such an incredible education program and institution as a whole!
I am currently teaching a 1st/2nd grade combination class at Baypoint Preparatory Academy, in San Marcos, California. The school I am working at is a public charter school that focuses on serving the underserved. I am so thankful for the preparation that Saint A's has provided me, because without it, I would not feel nearly as prepared to take on this big journey.
I was originally hired to be the first grade teacher, but due to necessity, my class was made into a combination 1st/2nd a few months into the school year. Saint A's gave me the ability to experience multiple grade levels and school settings and I am very grateful that I gained experience in both 1st and 2nd grade through my education at Saint A's. That experience gave me the confidence to be a successful grade combination teacher. I am so thankful to be an alumni of such a wonderful program and institution!
After I graduated from Saint Anselm in 2016, I taught kindergarten for a year at a Catholic school in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. This was my hometown and home parish, so it was such a special experience. The following year, I decided to move to Boston to begin teaching second grade at South Boston Catholic Academy while pursuing my M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction from Boston College. Through the Lynch School of Education there, I am receiving a special education certificate as well. The classes I took at Saint Anselm not only prepared me for graduate school, but also for having my own classroom right out of college. On the interviews, I felt so comfortable answering the academic questions because of the mock interviews and student teaching experience. However, I later found out that the faith-based questions helped me stand out from the other candidates, and I was able to answer them without hesitation because of my Catholic liberal arts education.
Since graduating from St. A's in 2015, I have slowly been making my way across the country teaching! Right out of school, I committed to doing a year of service teaching at The David School, which is an alternative high school in eastern Kentucky. After leading a SBA trip through Campus Ministry to The David School my senior year of college, I decided to go back for a year to teach math and science. Being an elementary education major, that year was full of challenges and growth. I enjoyed my time there immensely but knew at the end of the year that elementary education truly has my heart. I moved home to Bandera, Texas, and was hired on at Hill Country Elementary School as a first grade teacher. Working with these students has been wonderful. I am now in my 4th year teaching first grade at Hill Country Elementary. I am proud to say that I am an alum of such a wonderful education program that prepared me so well for all of my adventures so far!
After graduating, I spent a year as a Teaching Fellow for Promise Academy I Middle School in Harlem, N.Y., where I taught 6th Grade Science and 7th grade math. In the fall of 2015, I moved to Boston and became a Kindergarten Teaching Fellow at KIPP Academy Boston Elementary. KIPP:MA is part of a non-profit national network of college-preparatory, public charter schools serving elementary, middle and high school students. We prepare students in educationally under-served communities for success in college and life. We strive to guide our students toward having a life of impact and choice. For the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years, I served as a Kindergarten Lead Teacher and Grade-Level Chair. Currently, I am a 3rd Grade Lead Teacher and Grade-Level Chair at KIPP Academy Boston Elementary, lucky enough to be teaching my first class of kids at the school when I arrived in 2015.
When I left Saint Anselm College, I returned to Cumberland, Rhode Island. I happened to get a job back at my old middle school, North Cumberland Middle School. Originally, I planned on teaching at a high school level, yet I figured it would be a worthwhile risk to take as a new educator. Part of the Anselmian experience was about taking risks in order to develop as a person. For the past five years, I am incredibly grateful for the experience that I have been able to take part in as teaching seventh grade World History has been nothing short of rewarding.
I am able to share my passion for history, specifically European History, by bringing students through the World War I, Interwar Period, World War II, and Cold War periods. Each year, students take history to a new level by considering perspective closely. Whether it be discussing the Boy in the Striped Pajamas or engaging in a mock trial on the MacArthur-Truman dispute, every single class has illuminated the classroom by considering the series of life lessons that accompany these learning outlets as well.
Over my time at North Cumberland Middle School, I have worked as an advisor to various student programs ranging from Historical Awareness Society, Running Club, German Club, and Debate Club. Additionally, for the last four years, I have organized a trip to Washington, DC for seventh grade students. Annually, around 150 students from our district travel to our nation's capital on Veteran's Day Weekend. Through all of these outlets, my interpersonal and collaboration skills amassed at Saint Anselm College helped me tremendously.
If someone were to ask me two defining moments from my teaching career, it would be the last eighteen months. On November 20, 2017, I happened to be surprised by WJAR NBC 10 in my classroom. Based on a series of nominations, I was surprised to find out that I had been selected as the Golden Apple Award Winner. The award is given out to a teacher who demonstrates a level of excellence and makes a difference for students in the classroom. In reality, it was not just me who won that day, but my students. We work tirelessly each day and to be recognized for our hard work is a moment that will never leave me. Additionally, this past fall I coached the North Cumberland Middle School Cross Country team. It was nothing but fun and exciting as I was able to guide 50 runners throughout a season. We ended up winning the RI Boys and Girls Varsity State Championship, which is definitely a memory I will never forget either. These moments came after defining lows for me though.
For anyone who knows me, I happened to lose two of my best friends from Saint Anselm College in the last two years. Zachary Hilton who lost his life while teaching in Japan and Sean Curtis who lost a brave battle to ALS recently. They were beloved members of the Anselmian community who made a profound difference in my life in college. Losing a good friend breaks your soul to pieces, but if anything, these two were great teachers in their own way. Both of them constantly brought humor to situations that ultimately shed light on a situation. However, within their lasting messages, they imparted to me that when life is difficult, there will always be success when you work hard. As my friend Zach put it best, "Discipline and virtue lead to a happy life" (ZDH). These few highlights in my teaching career underscore these messages. Forever their memory will never escape those who were impacted by them at Saint Anselm.
Aside from my deceased friends, I personally must give a huge shout out to professors Kelly Demers, James Elefante, Dianna Terrell, and Laura Wasielewski for supporting me as a prospective educator during my journey at Saint Anselm College. They allowed for the Saint Anselm alumni Amber Byron for introducing me to the field of education during my SEFE experience at Trinity High School. Finally, a big token of gratitude goes out to my cooperating teacher, Dee Treybig, who teaches in the Social Studies Department at Bishop Brady High School. She has driven me to just become better.
After graduation, 2014, I moved to Memphis, Tenn., to join the LANCE (Lasallian Association of New Catholic Educators) Program at Christian Brothers University. While working towards my Master of Education, I lived in a community with other members of the program and taught 5th grade at De La Salle Elementary School. The school is a part of the Jubilee School Network, a system of previously closed urban Catholic schools reopened to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed. After graduating in May 2016, I decided to stay in Memphis and continue to teach 5th grade at the same wonderful school. In August 2017, I started teaching at St. Catherine of Siena, of New Orleans, La., which was recently voted the top private elementary school in the New Orleans area. I am currently teaching 7th grade ELA.
Richard Manzi may have thought graduating from Saint Anselm meant leaving behind a supportive, tight-knit community; little did the rookie teacher realize that his first job at Nativity Preparatory School in New Bedford, Mass., would provide him with an environment just as helpful and welcoming.
"The hours in the classroom were extremely important to me. The wide variety of classroom experience helped me narrow down the grades and subjects that I would feel most comfortable teaching."
A former baseball player and education studies major, Richard now teaches 5th grade science as well as 7th and 8th grade math and coaches the boy's baseball team. Nativity Prep School is an independent, tuition-free middle school for boys from low-income families. The school aims to provide a challenging but supportive learning environment to educate young men academically prepared for a bright future.
"The school itself is known for helping and saving students from getting lost in the public school system and dropping out eventually," Richard says. "We send students to good high schools and help them look for colleges when they get to that point."
Richard came to Saint Anselm with a hunch that he might want to teach for a living. His sophomore field experience in a 7th grade math class proved that education was the right field for him. The following year he volunteered at Webster Elementary School in several special needs classrooms. His senior year, he taught at Highland-Goffe's Falls Elementary School. All his time in the classroom through Saint Anselm's education program prepared him for his first year of teaching.
"My student teaching experience last year played a large role in settling some nerves at the beginning of this year," he said. "Although I am still learning about the students and the school every day, I feel like I have come a long way in teaching in a short amount of time and I give most of that credit, again, to student teaching my senior year at St. A's."
Richard says he finds his job extremely rewarding. Aside from enjoying teaching math and science, solving number problems and doing labs, he finds satisfaction in seeing his students develop and mature so quickly. So for Richard, Nativity is the perfect fit.
After graduating from Saint Anselm's in 2012, I found a position teaching history in the social studies department at Spaulding High School in Rochester, N.H. I arrived at a time when the district was in the midst of a transition to competency based instruction. Through this shift, I was able to take on a number of leadership roles and work with amazing schools around the state, looking at ways to integrate technology into class curriculum in a way that would support proficiency grading and blended learning. Last year, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to present my work at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Technology Conference in Manchester. I recently finished my Masters Degree in Educational Administration and have accepted an Associate Principal position at Belmont High School, Belmont, N.H. None of this would have been possible without my time on the Hilltop! The high expectations, the rigorous curriculum, and the incredibly supportive faculty and staff really prepared me for my career in education. Go Hawks!
Since graduating from Saint A's in 2010, I have been happily teaching at Trinity High School in Manchester, N.H. As a brand new teacher, I became as involved as I could in the school community. I advised the Pioneer yearbook for two years, attended class retreats, cheered on Trinity's athletic teams, and truly found a home among the 400 young men and women. Seven years and hundreds of students later, I am the English department chairperson, and the co-adviser of Trinity's chapter of the National Honor Society.
I graduated from St. Anselm in 2005 with an English BA and minor (certificate at the time) in secondary education. After graduation, I started working at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., which is where I still am; I am on my 12th year here at Pinkerton. I have taught grades 9-12 as well as all the different levels, and I am currently teaching juniors and seniors, including Advanced Placement Language and Composition. In 2014, I was recognized with the Pinkerton Academy Student Council Teacher of the Year award as well as the Pinkerton Academy Shepard Faculty Award. I was a 2017 NH Teacher of the Year finalist. I achieved my M.Ed. in Curriculum Instruction with a concentration on Education Leadership, and I am now a New Hampshire certified curriculum administrator. I believe in modernizing teacher pedagogy to keep up with 21st century education reform by maintaining a student-centered classroom. I am an advocate for competency-based grading and inquiry-based learning as part of a student-centered classroom.