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Alumni Spotlight: Kevin Dua

Kevin Dua '10, '11 • History Educator at Somerville High School

"City Year worked then for me as a corps member, and [it] still works for me today as a teacher. And I have the students (then and now) as confirmation."


There are about 100 students assigned to my five classes. Presently, there is a pile of 2-3 page essays about early American History on a desk that needs grading by next week; a new curriculum unit tailored to literacy support needs to be created within three days, and phone conferencing with 40 parents needs to be completed by week’s end. There are the occasional-expect-the-unexpected dynamic can easily shift a school climate instantaneously, which test my limits.

This is roughly 30% of my responsibilities. And frankly, the unmentioned 70% are just as beautifully taxing and welcomed as the others.

I am a ninth grade history educator at Somerville High School. It has become a facet of my life that I would not alter, as it has become a privilege to instruct young adults.

I attribute this unshakable peculiarity of mine to family, the Mr. Feeney character from Boy Meets World, past childhood teachers, and two-year tenure at City Year Boston.

The fashion of the Timberland boots and red fleece are non-existent in my wardrobe, yet I would be underestimating the stimulus that a City Year founding story had on past lessons on Native Americans; how an icebreaker learned as a corps member was used on the first day for new high school students; or how conviction as a first year teacher was implanted earlier as a senior corps member managing corps members in a Boston charter school. 

share with anyone willing to listen that I will never grumble about being a teacher. Criticizing salary, pressing for reform, lobbying through politics, anxiety over students and workload—these are matters that are vital, yet do not take precedence of my obligation to be there for that school. And low stipends, nationwide reform, and angst in helping a child read—City Year Boston primed me for this; balancing external strain of public education with a buoyant, unswerving mindset towards simply enriching a child’s learning.

Leaving Virginia for Boston and ultimately being a part of Somerville High School was a 
gradual crossing into this niche. Furthermore, if the first year 
as a southern transplant had not surpassed expectations;  if I were not encircled by a supportive corps that were eager to mature as community leaders; if I had not serve in a fourth grade classroom and be reminded that all children are adept to mold into scholars—I know I would not have been able to enthuse students about their personal growth as I am doing now.  
City Year worked then for me as a corps member, and [it] still works for me today as a teacher. And I have the students (then and now) as confirmation.


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