It was a sunny July day in Bryant Park, and my friends were busy discussing their internships, comparing photos of their office cubicles. When I was asked for a photograph, I showed them a photo of my school in Brooklyn. “Is your cubicle inside there?” they wanted to know.
I laughed. “The whole school is my office!”
Unconventional Office Life
As a college first year, I was searching for summer internships when Springboard’s description on a website caught my eye. Little did I know this would lead me to such a hands-on, fulfilling, engaging summer. While other interns I knew tracked data in office buildings or crafted presentations in conference rooms, I did all these tasks and more in a bustling school, surrounded by enthusiastic teachers and attentive students.
It was an amazingly dynamic work environment, filled with new things to do every day from preparing for our Wednesday family workshops to attending a weekly City-Wide meeting to share and hear about other sites around New York City. Though my daily schedule was quite a departure from my routine as a student during the academic year, I loved tackling new challenges and interacting with all the people who helped make Springboard possible: the families, the teachers, the students, and the national team.
As an Operations Lead, my job was to keep our program running smoothly day-to-day. Although each site has slightly different needs, schedules, and structures, at my school I had a few routine duties. A typical day included helping students with breakfast and transitioning to class, doing daily attendance and data entry, checking in with teachers, connecting with families, and leading or attending meetings.
Of course, every day had its own little needs and tasks that popped up. Wednesdays especially were different, as we prepared for the weekly family workshops. I worked closely with my Site Leader every day to ensure that we were meeting the needs of our students and our teachers.
Since this was my first college internship, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Springboard provided plenty of opportunities for professional development and responsibility. Operations Leads have very direct roles in facilitating the program, and I was able to engage personally with students and families, whether it was reading with a student during a family workshop or coaching a family member through a reading strategy (and asking questions before, during, and after reading!). Although I was a bit nervous at the onset of the program, it was heartening to know that there was an extensive support network to help me in my work, including my Operations Manager and Cluster Leader, who were only an email or text away.
Seeing Direct Results
One huge reason why I felt so fulfilled after my summer at Springboard was the visible change I saw in myself and in our community members after just a few short weeks. Many of our students made enormous progress in reading, and it was rewarding to see their joy at receiving incentives like books, backpacks, and even tablets. I was able to work with the students and provide instruction to families through the family workshops, and I learned so much while chatting with the wonderful teachers at my site.
I was able to go through numerous classrooms and observe tangible learning and progress being made, with my own part in the process.
If any university students are potentially interested in education, or even learning professional skills you can apply anywhere, I would recommend a summer at Springboard Collaborative–you’ll have so much fun, and will have a whole school to spend the summer in instead of one small cubicle!
This blog was contributed by Amy Jeon as part of our Spotlight blog series. Amy Jeon is currently a sophomore studying Public Policy & International Affairs. She loves reading, writing, and helping students discover their own love for learning.