These are excerpts from papers participants have written to illustrate the value that they gained from Access to Breakthrough Teaching.
Teacher, Youth in Custody Program
“Before beginning the course, Access to Breakthrough Teaching, I expressed a lot of frustration with my job. I felt isolated, ineffective, and burned-out. Daily interactions with students were often negative and resulted in poor participation in class activities.
The activities prescribed in the weekly practices have increased the positive interactions in my class. My students are comfortable discussing achievements and focusing on short term goals. They are increasingly able to accept the help that I offer. They have been willing to discuss obstacles that they face and plan solutions. I find it inspiring to understand the world from their perspective and know that I can be an effective coach for them. …
Finally, focusing on living with integrity has helped me reduce the stress of the many tasks that I am assigned to take care of. I have learned to say what I mean and mean what I say. I spend more time taking care of important tasks and less time worrying about how to explain my mistakes. The reduction in stress helps me stay focused on the real purpose for my job and gives these students a productive, challenging and nurturing environment in which to learn.”
Counselor and Therapist
“Working with at-risk-youth has always been a joy for me. I like their enthusiasm and zest for life, but they struggle with self-esteem issues, self-confidence, and the knowledge of how to get where they want to be. This course has given me many skills to teach, encourage, and coach the students I work with. I have become more positive about the students' capabilities and their chances for success by always listening for possibilities, partnerships, and accomplishments.
I have used the breakdown technology to teach them how to solve their own problems. It really empowers youth when they can come up with solutions to the challenges they face. I noticed the more control I gave them over their own learning, by partnering with them, the more eager they were to accomplish their goals. I started listening for where they were and starting at that point instead of where I wanted to start. …
I really liked the quote by W.B. Yeats, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Lighting a fire is exactly what Breakthrough Teaching allowed me to do by giving me the skills necessary to create an environment where youth are empowered and I can acknowledge their accomplishments by listening for possibilities.”
“During the first night of Access, I wondered what I was getting myself into. Would this program really provide the missing pieces of the puzzle that so many educators, including myself, had searched endlessly to find? After the instructor gave a general overview of what would be expected of each participant, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to be “open minded” and “flexible” toward the learning of new information presented. And hopefully, this information would provide the insight needed to help improve my relationship with my principal, students, and co-workers.
…Come to find out there are no missing pieces to the puzzle. The only thing missing is the ability to look for new possibilities that exist in the way we interact with each other within the educational community. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to take this course and would recommend it to anyone who would like to learn a creative and innovative approach to teaching and communicating in and outside of the classroom.”