Megan Zamora is in her first year of teaching 10th grade English at YES Prep East End. Zamora graduated from UT-Austin in 2013 and taught English in Ankara, Turkey, where she earned her international teaching certificate. We interviewed her about her path to YES Prep and her first semester at East End.
What drew you to YES Prep? Why did you choose YES Prep?
My best friend in the whole entire world, who I met at UT, is in her second year at YES Prep. She told me about YES Prep and I applied. They ended up needing an English teacher at East End where she works. It’s really fun to come to work with my best friend every day.
I was especially drawn to YES Prep because of its mission. I’m Hispanic and I was the first in my family to graduate from a 4-year university. I’m really passionate about working at a place where the goal is to get students to go to college– many of whom will be the first in their families to go, like I was.
TE has proved to be very rigorous. Even with my experience going through the international teaching program, I still feel like I’ve learned so much. I feel so much more confident with what TE has taught us thus far.
The Content Team has been great. They work so hard for the kids and teachers. I also have an amazing co-planner on campus. We click so well and it really benefits the students that we are working together.
What have been your greatest experience thus far as a first-year teacher?
I think it has been how my students have connected to the reading. We’re on our second anchor text, Julius Caesar. There was some push back and they were hesitant at first. Now, they’ve gotten very close to the book. The more time we spend getting comfortable with the book, the more they’ve been able to analyze the text and show me that they understand what is going on. Obviously, as an English major in college, I love books and reading, and I love when they are able to share that love.
What has been your biggest challenge thus far? What have you learned from this?
The biggest thing has been trying to balance work life and non-work life. I get here at 7:00 a.m. and teach until 3:25 p.m. I leave around 4:00ish. I go home and lesson plan and grade. A lot of other aspects of my life are on the backburner. I’m trying to learn how to balance so it’s healthy– mentally and physically.
What are you loving about East End?
I love the community feel of East End. The parents are so kind. This past Saturday, I went to one of the cross country meets to watch some of my students run. One of the kids had mentioned that I don’t have Kleenexes. The parent said “Just let me know what you need, and I’ll just send it.” The parents really care. Also, I feel like I can rely on my coworkers to help me with anything. They’ll help me without hesitating.
What advice do you have for other people who are considering teaching at YES Prep?
It can be challenging to work at YES Prep but any job can be a challenge. I feel as though this job is so rewarding. I love the relationship I have with the students. I like being able to laugh with them. I like that they come to me and want to share about their lives. I love being able to see them improve in their writing and their understanding.
Interested in experiencing the same level of support Megan receives as a teacher at YES Prep? Find out more about working at YES Prep by visiting our website.