Goal: 200-400 words.

Personal statement Edit

My hope is that a school community will be one where everyone works together to ensure success across the student body and the staff instructing them. Success on one's own is nice for the individual, but a school is at its best when everyone is working together. I believe I can bring this sense of teamwork along with leadership to a school. I know I am capable of stepping up where necessary and knowing where more than one person is needed to achieve a solution. I am a hard worker who will not rest until a problem I can fix is solved. I see myself as a team player who will lead positive developments in both education and community for the school.

My first two jobs heavily involved teamwork and the need to perform several different tasks to help ensure efficient, successful operations. In addition to succeeding at my primary task, I am able to move around when needed and fulfill another segment of the task at hand. I am a collaborator and can help a group succeed in achieving its goals; this is definitely important in a community where this is also a large special education population and educators will need to work with parents, staff, and outside specialists to help a student reach their goals. As stated above, I also have leadership skills and, with the proper education, I can help train new employees in what they need to know, something I was also asked to do at my previous jobs. I can be an experienced shoulder for those new to the scene to lean on as they are settling in to their position. As a collaborator and leader with flexibility, I believe I can be a successful educator for both students and staff alike.

Even though I have not directly worked in a school, my past experiences in working together and demonstrating leadership have helped me prepare for what being a teacher will be like. I know I will be dealing with others who are new to what will be worked with at any given level of education. Anywhere you go, whether it be work in a school or any other job, there is the possibility to give people a learning experience and guide them in the same way a teacher guides their pupils. I look forward to taking my teaching abilities to the classroom and helping New York City's students succeed and advance toward the next phases of their lives.

Question 1 Edit

Describe a challenging experience in your professional or academic career that you overcame. Examples of a challenging experience might include a hardship, failure, conflict, or struggle that you personally encountered. Identify the steps you took to overcome this experience. What did you learn and how you would apply these lessons to the classroom?

Perhaps the most challenging experience from my academic career came during my time at Penn State. I reached a point where my original hope, a degree in meteorology, became unfeasible due to poor grades in advanced math and science classes; thus, I would need to switch majors. While the answer may seem as simple as "I changed majors and succeeded", it was more than that. This failure particularly stung because as I had always dreamed of being a meteorologist. However, it is important in life to always have a backup plan. One's first dream, hope, or approach to problem solving will not always work out. A readiness to embark on a new path guided me to this opportunity. I dug into my interests and found a major that was one I truly desired and was able to craft a new life out of it. In addition, I learned from this failure to apply myself more heavily and reach out for help before any issues that would arise became more severe, speaking with professors to understand early concepts before they were built upon into those more difficult.

In the classroom, I would tell my students these similar principles. If they felt they were not understanding a concept, I would encourage them to come to me so we could discuss it before it became a substantial problem that would negatively affect their performance in class. As classes build on one concept into many more, sniffing out issues at the first levels is critical to prevent a student from being left behind as we climb the academic ladder. Students will learn tough lessons as they grow in school and things will not go the way they had hoped at some points. They will also need to know how to apply themselves; I would encourage them to go over their notes and homework every night. It is not enough to just write the information down, they will need to study and understand what is happening or ask those early questio

Question 2 Edit

It is three months into the school year. As a teacher new to your school, you are struggling to keep a few students on task. Your Assistant Principal observed your class and suggested you need to work on classroom management. A colleague remarked that these three students are known for having particularly challenging behavior and maybe they should just be moved to another class. After another observation, your Assistant Principal's feedback indicates that you have "unclear behavioral expectations and lack of consistent follow-up with off-task students." Please write an email response to your Assistant Principal wherein you outline your plan for addressing the issues in your class.

Mr. Jones,

It is unfortunate that you have found my classroom to hold unclear behavioral expectations and inconsistent follow-up with off-task students. In consulting with my colleagues, I have learned that these students are known to struggle staying on-task; thus, it is evident to me that these students' behaviors are not limited to my class. Let me personally assure you that I want all my pupils on-task and that drifting away from the material at hand is not acceptable.

The first and most important step is to notify the parents of the students in question of these repeated off-task behaviors. They must be aware that their children are not acting on-task in my classroom so they can speak with me and provide anything else they believe I should know about their students. I will call them to provide this information and work to set up an in-person conference as our schedules permit.

In addition to a conference, given what I have heard from my fellow teachers, I believe it to be possible that these students have a disability and, following our guidelines for implementation of special education, we should consider a referral to a specialist. Of course, we would need consent from the parents to permit outside observation of these students. If we can initiate special education services, the goal must remain to keep them in my and any other instructors' general classes until all possible in-class services are exhausted.

Furthermore, I will speak with the class in general about the off-task behavior and remind them that they should be focused on our lessons, participating in our classroom activities, and taking notes on the material. I will also remind them of the consequences for participating in non-constructive activities, beginning with a verbal warning, followed by a written warning and subsequent parental notification, referral to the principal, and detention. I will track my students closer during our activities, especially when they are working independently, to make sure they are following my instructions; I should thus be able to sniff out any problems quicker than before. Any student who goes off-task will be properly addressed according to this chain, which should resolve any issues with inconsistency.

I assure you that you will never reach these conclusions about my classroom again.


Mr. Richard Myers

Sincerely, Mr. Richard Myers

Question 3 Edit

NYC Teaching Fellows are not required to answer this essay. If you have questions about why Fellows are not required to answer this essay, please contact us at 718-935-4586 or