I believe that teachers have the ability and the responsibility to help their students grow into mature and well-informed members of society.
Sarah Berry 2011 Fellow
2011 Fellow Impact Academy of Arts and Technology Hayward, California
Sarah Berry credits her decision to become a teacher to her mother, two amazing ESL teachers, and the more than 50 English as a second language (ESL) kids she got to work with as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. Sarah’s mother instilled in her daughter the idea that a solid education is key to advancement. At college, Sarah began volunteering one hour a week at a local middle school’s ESL class. The experience was transforming. By her senior year, Sarah was helping the students in the class for up to 12 hours a week and had decided to pursue teaching as a career.
Sarah’s four years as the ESL class’s tutor and classroom assistant taught her a great deal about the world at large and her own commitment to education. After she watched a group of ten refugee students, many of whom had lived through war, hunger and poverty, struggle with science content because of lack of English ability, she decided to put in extra hours to help. “I got to see my students take their test and bring back scores of 70, 80 and even 90%. The look on their faces was what convinced me that I wanted to be a teacher.”
Sarah’s other eye-opening experience was a community service trip to Kolkata, India, where she taught math and writing to street children aged 3-13. Her lessons took place at the same crowded train station where the children slept and bathed before rushing to work. Sarah hopes to find a more lasting solution to the problem of education for these children as she matures and grows as a teacher.
Sarah graduated from Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Ga. She was awarded the Outstanding Service to Youth in the Community award from her community service fraternity.