Teacher Tribute
Teaching Fellows at SJU reflect on their first year

NID launches partnership with Saint Joseph's University

“I survived!” exclaimed Caitlin Slover, reflecting on her first year as a classroom teacher. We met Caitlin and 13 other teaching fellows through the Alliance for Catholic Education at Saint Joseph University’s (ACESJU) –an innovative, two-year service through teaching program that gives college graduates the opportunity to serve as full-time teachers in Philadelphia urban Catholic schools while pursuing a master’s degree in education.

SJU’s Associate Dean of Education Jeanne Brady asked Need in Deed to offer service-learning training and support to the ACESJU fellows as part of the preparation for their second year of service in their respective schools. NID program staff facilitated three workshops this summer to orient the group to our practice and methods.

As a way of getting to know this new cohort of teachers, NID program staff led the fellows in a reflection activity in which they shared their experiences from their first year.

“I was surprised at how many variables are likely to affect my day,” said Beca Martinez, who taught 3rd grade last year.

“Teaching consumed my life,” said Valerie Luckey. She spoke for many in describing the challenges of finding work-life balance amidst the rigors of teaching and learning.

Sometimes compared with Teach for America, the ACE model, first launched at Notre Dame in 1994, is designed to preserve and revive Catholic school education by providing a steady infusion of highly-trained, quality Catholic school teachers into the Catholic school system.

Says Jeanne Brady, “We are extremely pleased with our partnership with Need in Deed. Saint Joseph’s University shares a mission with NID to empower teachers to be reflective practitioners, students' advocates and activists for change who think and act beyond the classroom and to serve the children and their families within the community.”

Michael O’Connor, Assistant Director of Programs for ACESJU adds, “NID is a fantastic addition to our program’s emphasis on community. Our fellows use their own intentional community as a support for their teaching, but NID’s training encourages our fellows to engage the school and neighborhood communities to enhance their own teaching and the academic, moral and civic development of their students.”