We first met Ashley at our 2017 Annual Benefit Dinner where she shared her story of how a Teach For America teacher inspired her. Now she has completed institute and is preparing for her first day of the new school year. We checked in with Ashley to see how she's feeling after a summer of teaching New York City students and to see if what she shared at the dinner holds true today.
What's your name and where are you from?
My name is Ashley DeVaughn and I'm a proud native of The Bronx.
Why did you join Teach For America?
I joined TFA to be a part of something more. To gain the skills and support to be more than just a classroom teacher.
How would you describe your institute experience?
Wow! institute was indeed an experience! I loved being in the classroom and getting to know my students. I loved the way my Lead Mentor Teacher would always help us by showing us how she would teach a lesson. I loved the real-time feedback from my Mentor Teacher in the classroom. The entire experience was exhausting. There were a lot of things thrown at me to do, complete, and remember. I found myself counting down the days at some point but then when those days really hit single digits, it was bittersweet. It was like building a family in six weeks. I will cherish the friendships and bonds I formed during institute forever.
What does "teaching as leadership" mean to you?
Teaching as leadership mean showing by example. Understanding that you are teaching more than just that curriculum but you're teaching students how to attain information, how to manage time, how to solve problems and think critically. These are all characteristics that are necessary beyond the classroom.
Ashley shares her mission with the audience at our 2017 Annual Benefit Dinner.
In partnership with Relay Graduate School of Education, we set out to create the conditions that empower our teachers to know students, cultivate community within their classrooms, engage students in rigorous and relevant content, and challenge inequity throughout (and long after) their corps experience. Together, we designed a customized summer of training.