Andy's Story

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“Every day the kids arrived, excited about learning, and I was excited to be teaching!”  That’s how Andrea (“Andy”) Jenigar describes her summers at Breakthrough Cincinnati. Andy served as a Teaching Fellow (TF) in 2014 and 2015, and as an Instructional Coach (IC) in 2016.  [As the title indicates, IC’s are educators who provide advice and counsel to the TF’s during their summer (lesson plans, curriculum, in-class techniques, etc.).] After graduating summa cum laude from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 2015 with a B.S. in Education and a B.A. in English, Andy began her work as a teacher at Princeton High School in Cincinnati.  She then returned to her hometown of Cleveland, and currently teaches 10th grade English at Cuyahoga Falls High School.

“When I was a TF, I’d go to my IC with a challenge, like how to get dialogue going in the classroom about a particular book we were reading.  I’d get some valuable advice, and maybe even more important, support for trying out my own ideas. I actually just used one of the techniques I learned from my IC in my current American Literature class.  It still worked!”

Andy recalls how special the environment was at BTC.  “For anyone who is interested in education as a career, and in helping young people succeed, Breakthrough is the place.  Hands on experience, and a chance to make a real difference in kids’ lives.”

“While I loved being in the classroom, some of my most meaningful time with the BTC students was when we were just ‘hanging out” at recess or lunch.  Or when I taught a dance elective, helping the students gain confidence through their performances.”

Andy’s enthusiasm for teaching is clear and infectious.  As she talked about her future career aspirations, she can see herself working with other teachers down the road.  “I loved being an IC at Breakthrough. It was perhaps my favorite role, as I had a chance to influence more students by helping a range of TF’s.  And it wasn’t just being a resource for curriculum or instruction. I found myself providing career advice, especially to the TF’s who were so interested in education.  I could tell they were going to be ‘rock star’ teachers.”

“Some of my best friends are the other TF’s and IC’s I worked with during those summers.  I’ll never forget how much I learned from them.”

Julie Witten