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UAlbany students spend summer in NYC schools sharpening their teaching skills

UAlbany School of Education StudentFor spring ‘04 graduate, Hui Yu (Jessica) Du, a Summer in the City Program teaching experience – plus her UAlbany coursework – added up to a winning equation that made her “want to teach even more!”

“I applied to the Summer in the City Program because I thought it would give me more insight into the roles and responsibilities of teachers in New York City’s public high schools,” explained Jessica, a Guangzhou, China, native and aspiring math teacher. “I had had previous experience working with elementary school students and pre-college students as a student assistant with the Educational Opportunities Program here at UAlbany.”

Last summer Jessica teamed up with veteran teacher Linda Bremer and taught mathematics at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn. She describes Bremer as, “a fabulous mentor” and “an effective teacher who cared about her students and their progress. She gave me excellent advice on improving my teaching skills. She pointed out that I should have used my time more efficiently by having students work on practice problems while I put more problems on the other side of the board or introduced more complex concepts on the topic,” recalled Jessica, a mathematics major who also completed a minor in computer science at UAlbany.

In addition to teaching, Jessica tutored the students individually and in groups, and talked with them before and after class to build up a strong rapport. “I always kept them informed of their progress and encouraged them to do better.”

In Brooklyn, Jessica lived at the St. George Hotel, where other Summer in the City participants also stayed. There, she enjoyed “sharing my experiences with the program and learning from their experiences.” She received a $2,000 stipend and a New York City Subway Metrocard to defray her living expenses.

“the program provided me with a clearer picture of teaching as a profession..."Jessica, who will be heading to Columbia University’s Teachers College in the fall, said, “the program provided me with a clearer picture of teaching as a profession, and gave me a real taste of what working in the New York City high schools is like. It will be one of the greatest challenges to acquire the skills that Ms. Bremer had – and an even greater one to try to do as good a job as she does.”

Launched several years ago through the State University Teacher Education Center (SUTEC), Summer in the City affords SUNY students the opportunity to teach in New York City public schools for five weeks each July and August. UAlbany has participated since 2002, sending eight to a dozen students to New York each summer. A committee representing UAlbany’s School of Education and SUTEC selects participants.

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