Teaching in Community

One of the hardest parts about teaching is that so much of it is in your own mind. Even though I’m in a room full of children, the experience often feels independent. I know the questions running through my mind are sometimes miles away from that of my students, and it’s easy to feel very alone as a teacher. So one of the biggest blessings of working with a coteacher is not just having another adult in the room, but having someone alongside to experience the big and small moments of teaching. Hallie Klunder, my coteacher, and I share knowing glances when students share ridiculous answers, and when students are acting crazy, it helps to share in the frustration. Anytime I feel stuck, I know I not only have the support of my administration, but a teacher who truly understands the struggles and joys of working with our students and is committed to teaching and loving our students with me. No one in urban education needs reminding that the work can feel like too large a burden to bear, but being in community with Hallie and the rest of my team at Cornerstone Prep Lester constantly reminds me that I’m not alone in this work, nor is the responsibility solely mine to hold. Instead, I’m surrounded by a community committed to doing the best we can to work together to serve our students well.

– Mariah Curtis

I knew when I began MTR that a core focus of the organization is community. I did not know, however, how this would translate into my teaching career. I have the privilege of working with several MTR graduates and residents at Cornerstone Prep Lester. Often the demands of teachers within an urban context become overwhelming. I am so grateful in these moments for those who have gone before me, those who are walking alongside me, and those who will come after me at my school. Instead of feeling isolated, I find comfort knowing that I am not in this work alone. When something goes well I have others cheering for me, and when something fails I have encouragement to keep going. This year I was given the opportunity to coteach with a fellow MTR grad, Mariah Curtis. Working in such close proximity with one another is extremely refining. I am equally challenged and encouraged by Mariah. She is gracious when I mess up and celebrates with me when I succeed. When I feel like giving up she is my voice of reason. The Lord is not surprised that this work is hard. He knew that it would be and graciously gives us others in order that we may thrive in the work he created us to do.

– Hallie Klunder