Summer Internship: Skye Henderson '22

October 6, 2021

Name: Skye Henderson
Class Year: 2022
Major: Sociology Minor: Education
Hometown: Boston, MA

Internship Organization: Breakthrough Greater Boston
Job Title: Teaching Fellow
Location: Remote/Cambridge Public Schools

What’s happening at your internship? 

As I write this blog post, I just wrapped up my final day of teaching! The past eight weeks I have spent working for Breakthrough have been some of the most rewarding, fulfilling, exhausting, and exciting weeks of my life! We spent the first two weeks of the program in intensive teacher training. With workshops on topics from behavior management in virtual spaces to how to be an actively anti-racist teacher in STEM classrooms, myself and 20 other Teaching Fellows prepared for the arrival of our students. We practiced our lessons on each other tirelessly and worked together to revise our lesson plans. After those two weeks, our six weeks of teaching began! I taught math and creative writing as well as ran an advisory period, with about 10 students in each class. Off the bat, we were confronted with the challenge of engaging and bonding with students despite spotty wifi, cameras off, and a lot of silence. But over time, we found our groove and the students found theirs and we focused on solving equations, functions, and inequalities! With the teaching portion of my internship completed and just a few more days of tying up loose ends left, I feel incredibly grateful for this experience and so disappointed that it is over. Despite the challenges that come with a virtual environment, I have learned so much and created such incredible connections with my students and fellow teachers.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Breakthrough is an incredible program that I was immediately interested in when I began looking into educational non-profits. It works with students year-round from 7th grade all the way through their high school graduation. It provides supplemental summer programming, academic support throughout the school year, college application and prep support, and so many other resources to students who are historically and systematically denied access to these things. It works in cities across the country (I am working with the Greater Boston program) and partners with schools to provide access to a more equitable education to primarily low-income, minority students. As a sociology major and an education minor in the process of getting certified to teach social studies for grades 7-12 through Bryn Mawr’s education department, my interests are focused in looking at really big problems in our education system and finding ways to make them a tiny bit better in a classroom setting. Breakthrough’s dedication to this mission was incredibly exciting and intriguing to me and proved to be an incredible opportunity.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

It is hard to choose what the most rewarding part of my experience at Breakthrough was. The experience I had in a career I am working towards feels incredibly valuable and will greatly shape the way I approach my future. The feeling of watching a student succeed in solving a problem after many failed attempts was so gratifying that it easily made the hours agonizing over lesson plans more than worth it. But perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the program were the connections that I made. I found close friends in the other Teaching Fellows, particularly my co-teacher who I spent hours each day with, tag-teaming off of and leaning on to get through the challenges of the day. And I created such incredible bonds with my students. Despite the distance that Zoom creates, I got to know so much about each student and cared so much about each of them. On our very last day of class, one of my students interrupted me to say “Wait, are we never going to see you again? That’s so sad!”. Knowing that we created a connection that calls for that reaction to the last day of summer school is easily the most rewarding part of the program.

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.