Barely a month after graduating from Binghamton University with a bachelor’s degree in English, Matthew Dolsky found himself at a job he would have never imagined: science teacher.
Dolsky, who graduated from BU last May, spoke via Skype on Wednesday about his experience with students interested in teaching as a part of the BU Alumni Association’s “Cool Connections, Hot Alumni” series. The event was organized by the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, the Binghamton University Alumni Association and the Education Minor Steering Committee, which works to give undergraduate students insight into careers in educational fields.
After interning at a law firm in New York City during the summer of his junior year, Dolsky said he found law was not his passion and decided to pursue a minor in education. He applied to various fellowships to start teaching out of college and landed at Success Academy Charter Schools, a network of public schools in New York City that are run by an independent group.
“It was always something on the back burner of my mind but what really solidified it was doing what you guys are doing right now: the education minor,” Dolsky said. “The education minor is such an awesome way for you guys to get a broad knowledge of what’s happening right now and what the career’s like.”
According to Dolsky, he chose to apply to Success Academy after watching a documentary about the program and what he described as a youthful and passionate environment. After several rounds of interviewing, he was accepted.
The school partnered with Touro College to fund dual-masters programs for every assistant teacher at Success Academy in child education and special education for grades one through six. Dolsky started the past summer by taking four classes as a full-time grad student, participating in “teacher training” and then starting as an assistant teacher in a kindergarten class in the Bronx.
Dolsky applied for work at a charter school because he said there is not much experience required to begin teaching. This, he said, was beneficial for BU students because the school does not have an education major. He said charter schools are a way to have graduate school paid for while gaining experience in a supportive environment.
“We don’t just need teachers, we need good teachers and we need teachers who are going to stay,” Dolsky said.
Kristina Bilello, a senior majoring Chinese, said the talk was an enlightening experience.
“You could just see from his expression how much he cared,” Bilello said. “I feel like that resonates so much because people have jobs they’re not happy with. It felt like it was reassuring, because before I came I wasn’t sure, but now I think I know what I want to do.”
According to Francis Borrego, the senior assistant director of marketing and assessment at the Fleishman Center, they chose Dolsky to speak because of his unique story and because of the high demand from students for teaching programs.
“We’re trying to connect students with alumni,” Borrego said. “Alumni have a lot of great experiences to share, so any opportunity we have to connect alumni that we think are going to be good representatives of a particular career path, we’d like to get them in front of students.”