She may have just finished her studies as a new college graduate, but Monique Magras '21 is returning to the classroom this month. The young Curry alumna was recently selected as part of the 2021 cohort of the Teach for America program, one of the largest K-12 educational nonprofits dedicated to creating equity in education.
Teach for America selects roughly 12 percent of the thousands of applicants that compete to work with the national program. Magras is the second Curry graduate to be chosen for the prestigious program. She joins Kylie Silva '20, who now serves as a first-grade teacher at Atlantis Charter School in Onset, Mass. Silva also recently started studying at Boston University for a graduate degree in education.
"To be selected for such a competitive program means so much to me because I have worked hard to get where I am today, and it's incredibly rewarding to see it all pay off."
For the last two months, Magras has completed a series of online training on anti-racist teaching and the science of reading, among other topics. She will teach second grade at Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore and has already started collaborating with other TFA cohorts in the area and other regions, including New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Tennessee, to build and share lesson plans. This week, she started leading summer school sessions to complete a teaching practicum that goes through August.
"I am excited to be able to provide children with the opportunity to learn and grow," she says. "The teacher's work is not easy but seeing how the children make a change is so worthwhile. I've always loved helping people, and I have had teachers help me in my journey, which got me to where I am today, so I want to do the same."
While at Curry, Magras majored in psychology and double minored in criminal justice and sociology, and believes the diverse knowledge she gained on adverse childhood experiences and behavior disorders will serve her well in the new role. She also garnered teaching and leadership experience because of her participation in the significant number of co-curricular and extracurriculars available on campus. She served as a teaching assistant for a First-Year Seminar course, guided other PAL students as a PAL Peer Mentor, and served as President of the Collision Dynasty student dance club. She also worked as a Clubs and Organizations Assistant with the Office of Student Activities while also involved with the Rise Up mentoring program and as an Orientation Leader for the incoming first-year students.
Ultimately, Magras aspires to work as a school psychologist and is currently attending graduate school at John Hopkins University to earn a Master’s Degree in elementary education.
Psychology Professor Dr. Mia Khera, herself an alumna of Teach for America, was instrumental in aiding both Magras and Silva in their success being selected for each cohort. “Like in Kylie, I saw a passion in Monique to create change for young people. I had that same eagerness and determination when I was a college senior,” she says. “Now as I think back to what I learned as a classroom teacher when I did Teach For America 23 years ago (Phoenix, 1998), I know that I am a more understanding Curry College professor, clinical psychologist, advisor and mentor because of what I learned from my students and their families. Monique and Kylie's understanding of systems will grow and they will join a strong corps that has worked relentlessly to create equity in schools.”