Meet a Teacher
Kait Beaudoin is our 7th grade Ancient World History teacher at the Match Middle School. She joined Match after three years of teaching high school Spanish with Teach for America in Dallas. We asked Kait to answer some questions about how her year went.
How did you end up becoming a teacher?
I knew in my senior year of college that I wanted to do something where I could give back to the community. Being a History and Spanish double major, I felt the best way to do that would be through teaching. I didn’t know what it would involve and how much work it was actually going to be, but I figured as a hard working individual, I could make an impact.
I loved Match’s mission for preparing students not just for high school, not just for college, but beyond that as well. The school I was teaching at before Match didn’t have as much of a focus on college. It was about getting through high school, period. I wanted to be a part of a school that was preparing students to be lifelong learners, to be successful in college, and in life, really. Match really tries to develop a love for learning within students as well, and that is something I really appreciate.
What is it like to work with the Match Corps? (The Match Corps is our one year urban education fellowship)
It’s awesome! The Match Corps have been super helpful for my students. For my class specifically, they work with students before major exams and writing assignments in my classroom. Although tutorial is math and ELA focused, students still receive extra prep time to work on essays with another adult, one on one or two on one. Also, I will say that having both a teaching assistant and administrative assistant is amazing. They helped me so much throughout this year from further developing research and homework assignments in my classroom, to differentiation, and pull outs when needed. On top of all of that, they help me with grading. It’s amazing how many more assignments I'm able to grade for each student.
And oh, as people, they’re great. I had a close relationship with both my TA’s and AA’s. They're a great positive presence and role model for the kids.
What was the most challenging part of the year for you?
I think the most challenging time of the year is the dead of winter, when it's cold, dark, and students are getting tired, teachers are getting tired. Everyone gets affected. The days were shorter and darker and environmentally, it starts to get difficult when the students get tired. We really had to pull through as a team to get ourselves together and pumped up every day. If we didn’t do it there was no way those students were going to do it.
What do you like best about working at Match?
There are a lot of great things I could say. The staff. I love the staff at Match. They're a group of extremely passionate individuals who truly care about student success and education. They are so different from one another in their teaching style and the way they interact with kids, but you still see kids respond to them in very positive ways. It’s great to work with a staff that is extremely positive and invested in what they do; they keep trying to get better. So much more so than other situations that I’ve been in.
Have you developed as a teacher this year?
Yes! Certainly as a classroom manager. Expectations are clear, and administrators are very supportive of me as a teacher. I knew that if I needed to send a student out my decision wouldn’t be questioned. I also think the rigor of my curriculum and teaching has increased throughout the year. This year I had become a lot more focused on developing students as readers and writers through a historical lens, as opposed to just focusing on them looking at just content. Throughout the year I’ve transitioned them to learning different content areas, which in turn makes them really strong readers and writers.
What's professional development like here?
I meet with Megan once a week as my coach. She gives great feedback. I’ll see her and talk with her. We'll either debrief during our weekly meeting, or she'll leave me a note with a suggestion or tip that I can implement right in my next class period. We have longer professional development sessions on Friday. Megan is very open to hearing suggestions from teachers on what would help us develop and what topics we should receive practice in. PD is not a waste of time at Match. We elect what we do and receive support in it.
What are Match students like? Got a story?
One of the funniest things is about how blatantly honest 7th grade students are. They say what they think and say what they want. I had a puffy shirt on. I didn’t think much about it and honestly, I mean, it was in style! One my sweetest students came and asked me if I was going for the pirate look. It surprises me sometimes how young they are, especially because we treat them like adults.
Where do you see yourself going next?
I think I want to teach for a few more years. I want to be an expert teacher, an awesome teacher, and develop in that way. I’m not ready to leave the classroom any time soon. Beyond that, I'm not too sure, but I want to stay in education, and middle school, in particular. I love it. This is the age where kids make the decision if they care about education and if it’s going to be an important part of their lives. I really believe in charter schools. I don’t see myself leaving the charter system. Staying in the classroom a bit longer...I really like the idea of the daily challenge.
One last question: why Boston?
It’s closer to my family – I’m from New Hampshire, family is from there. Having the family support system really allows me to put more into my students. And then I love the seafood. In Dallas, there wasn’t much of that. But in Boston, especially, you can get whatever you want!