Valuable teaching experience

by Kate Ryan, AmeriCorps


“What are you doing after graduation?” This one question kept bothering me during my senior year of college, mainly since I couldn’t give my friends a concrete answer for the longest time.

 I wanted to do something right out of college that would give me some experience in a school setting and help me determine if I wanted to become a teacher. The Minnesota Reading Corps and Math Corps ended up being the perfect fit for me. I feel that I am making a difference here in Minnesota while earning valuable career experience.

Minnesota Reading Corps is a research-based AmeriCorps program targeted at Minnesota students from 3 years old through third grade with the goal of helping them get on the track to reading proficiency by the end of the third grade.

I work one on one every day with my students, monitor their progress weekly and have a file full of graphs to show their growth that I can share with their teachers. With one in four Minnesota third graders struggling to reach proficiency in reading — that’s 15,000 kids. It’s inspiring to be able to see the number of letter sounds or words they can read in a minute increasing each week.

The personal interactions I have with my students and fellow staff are what really drew me to Minnesota Reading Corps, however. It’s a great feeling to see the excitement on a child’s face when they finally are able to read to the bottom of a page with no mistakes, or when you get ambushed by 30 excited first graders every time you walk into their classroom. I get to know each of my students on a personal level, and it is truly inspiring to see their confidence bloom along with their literacy skills. I also work very closely with their classroom teachers, which helps me better serve students and has also provided a great resource for professional development.

I can honestly say that I love what I do and look forward to serving at my site every day. Minnesota Reading Corps is a great opportunity, and not just one for future teachers, for me as an aspiring teacher and also for my fellow tutors with other career goals who want to give back to their community.  And since my Minnesota Reading Corps position is only a yearlong commitment, it’s great for taking a chance to discover more about myself and prepare for my next step in life.