Janae B.

Cohort 2010
Washington, DC
Prince George’s County Public Schools
Fourth Grade Teacher

I came through the very first cohort in D.C. One of the things that really stuck out to me was that you receive a certification in general education and special education. There were so many special education kids who are underserved and I was very inspired to make the switch and become a special education teacher.

I did my residency and my first two years at Center City Capitol Hill. It was a tough environment. In terms of student behavior, it was just a really hard place to be. But the advantage I had coming in from Urban Teachers was that I had so many strategies. I knew how to make behavior plans. And I was getting coaching. We had very strong supports in place.
In my second year, there was one time that I just called my coach and had a breakdown about all of the behavior problems. She helped me work up a roadmap of what to do next. You hear all of these stories about new teachers who just throw up their hands and quit. Without Urban Teachers, I would have been one too. But the support from Urban Teachers helped me through it.

Now I’m teaching a fourth grade special education class in Prince George’s County Maryland. I also help train Urban Teachers residents in special education.

There’s a different mentality that people in Urban Teachers have. Our professors would always tell us, if your class doesn’t get it, it’s your responsibility to teach them a different way. I sit in meetings all the time where I hear teachers blaming students and now I find myself being the voice saying you need to try something different.

I’m always analyzing students, trying to figure out what is their educational prescription. What do they need to learn? It almost seems as natural now as picking up a pen and notebook.