June 8 ‘19 Year End JET Seminar for Boston JET Paras

On June 8, JET held the ‘End of Program Year’ seminar at the Boston Teachers Union. The attendees were current members for BPS JET Cohorts 1, 2, 3, members of new Cohort 4, JET seminar faculty, JET mentors, and JET Program staff.

JET staff welcomed everyone and then opened the seminar program with two lively icebreakers: “A Warm Wind Blows,” a get-to-know-you activity; and “Yarn Intentions,” a reflection and goal setting activity. These got everyone moving and talking and really warmed up the group.

One highlight of the seminar program was a panel of ‘JET Experts’ - three JET participants who shared their stories of challenges and successes on their journey to meeting their teacher goals. Our panel members included Deborah Barabino, University of Massachusetts Boston 2019 graduate; Emmanuel Limage, University of Massachusetts Boston 2019 graduate and licensed teacher at the Mildred Avenue School; Tatiana Obeso, Bay Path University 2018 graduate and licensed teacher at the Boston Arts Academy.

Some of their advice offered was ‘you are never too old to achieve your goal,’ ‘focus on your school work both in the classroom and college courses - school never ends,’ ‘get support from your family, even if it requires a cultural shift in home responsibilities that can be long lasting.’ The overarching advice they shared with the group was ‘Identify areas that challenge you and find ways to address those challenges!’

The next seminar topic was The JET Mentorship Program. This was piloted over the 2018-19 academic year to provide all new JET Cohort 3 members with an individual mentor, an experienced Boston public educator, to support the new participants in the beginning stage of their journey to become a teacher. A mentor, Valerie Gumes and her mentee Greg Berry shared their experiences in the first year of Mentorship program. They both agreed that a mentors role is to guide, support, and offer advice based on their own experience. And that the role of the mentee is to take advantage of the mentor’s sage advice and to work out a plan for regular communication and identifying needs. Their comments and feedback bespoke the benefits of a mentoring relationship and motivated other participants to partner with a mentor.

The program concluded by recognizing the milestones and accomplishments of those who have earned their bachelor’s degree and completed their licensure requirements. The ‘pilot’ mentors were given special thanks for also playing a role in the development of the Mentoring program.

All participants were recognized for their yearly accomplishments as they continue their journey. The participants reflected on how they managed their past experiences to move forward in the future with good intentions. Great points like, I now realize I can only do two classes per semester; and, I insist that my family play a greater role in helping manage the household; and I can’t do this journey alone, I need the support of good coaching and mentorship.

Helping paraprofessionals for careers as licensed teachers means that our urban school districts can look forward to hiring the experienced and committed teaching talent that paraprofessionals will bring to the classroom and their students.

We at the Journey into Education and Teaching (JET) program are very proud of the accomplishments of all the participants this year. We might say the year went by very quickly… However, the JET participants might say, WOW! I made it another year.

Congratulations to those who have completed many milestones and welcome to a new cohort of JET Participants.