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Career Partner Spotlight: Chelsea Rivas and Urban Teachers

Chelsea Rivas '12, '13 •  Urban Teacher Center '17

Chelsea Rivas

"I truly feel like City Year laid a firm foundation for my teaching career.”

Chelsea Rivas is a resident with Urban Teacher Center. She served two years with City Year Columbia in '12 and '13. She chose City Year because she knew she wanted to be a teacher, but was not ready for the responsibility of her own classroom. "The thought of being the one responsible for a classroom full of young minds is a little intimidating to me,” says Chelsea.

City Year was the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to gain more experience in education before committing to a teacher preparation or graduate school program. Her experience with City Year led her to the decision to begin a career in teaching. She was discouraged by the struggles and challenges teachers faced in their first year.  From seeing other people’s experiences, Chelsea realized that she did not just want to be thrown into teaching with no formal training or coaching. "I was drawn to apply to Urban Teacher Center because it seemed like they gave their teachers a lot of support before actually giving them the responsibility of their own classroom, and that is just how I feel being in the program now,” says Chelsea. She took six courses over the summer and interned at a summer school in the mornings. She is now a co-teacher, and is given support in the classroom from a fourth year UTC member. Chelsea is also supported by an experienced coach that helps her grow as a teacher and prepare Chelsea for her own classroom.

Chelsea still refers back to the skills she gained through her City Year Columbia experience as both a Corps Member and Team Leader. She gained leadership skills that are necessary to being a part of her UTC cohort.  Thanks to her experiences as a team leader she is now able to confront conflict with professionalism. She is able to handle coaching and feedback, which she struggled with before City Year. She has already seen the impact her two years of service have on her as a teacher. She is now able to be flexible and change her teaching practice based on observing other teachers and their best practices. "I truly feel like City Year laid a firm foundation for my teaching career,” says Chelsea.

Chelsea highly recommends then UTC program to City Year alumni who are interested in pursuing a masters degree in teaching through a teacher position program. Through UTC you earn a dual Masters in Education in Special Education and either Elementary or Secondary Education for free. Participants are given a supported teaching experience with trainings and resources before entering their own classroom.   

After UTC Chelsea plans to continue teaching in the communities with the highest need. She one day would like to move into education administration in order to make big whole school changes. 


Learn more about our Career Partnership with Urban Teachers.

Email Chelsea.

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