Back to School With 2017 Corps Member, Juan Bencosme
At the Teach For America – New York annual benefit dinner, you said “It is my mission to show my students that they can break free from their limits.” How do you feel about that after having gone through institute?
It's a double edged sword. My students will learn to keep pushing themselves. To use their skills fully and keep learning. But I came face to face with my own limits. I had to learn to keep pushing. I had to use and acquire new skills and new mindsets. It is a partnership; I teach them and in many ways, they teach me.
What’s the most important lesson you learned this summer?
Everyday is new. Every moment is new. There is a balance between accounting for all the things that have been happening and giving students a new opportunity to show up as often as possible. My role is not to correct behavior solely for the sake of cooperation. We correct and redirect in the service of learning. No matter how "bad" or "good" a given day is, tomorrow is a brand new day.
What’s the best teaching tip you’ve heard so far
Share yourself with your students. When they know you they trust you, and you work together towards common goals.
Who or what inspires your work?
My fiancé. My family. My students. Kendrick Lamar. God.