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Meet Jacob: Despite Tough Times, this Pathways Fellow Remains Focused on Becoming a Teacher

Jennifer Friedlin

Jacob Moore is the kind of person who is always busy, juggling multiple responsibilities as he works to develop a career while making ends meet.

When Coronavirus hit, things got rocky. First, his substitute teaching gigs dried up due to school closures. Then an opportunity to work at one of New York City’s Regional Enrichment Centers for children of essential workers in the Coronavirus pandemic evaporated when under-enrollment forced the site to close.

These days, Jacob, 23, is learning to live in the moment. Fortunately, he says, he still has the ExpandED Pathways Fellowship to help him keep his dream of becoming a teacher alive.

Designed for people of color who want to become teachers, the one-year Pathways Fellowship, which runs from September – June, offers professional development training, mentorship, and a paid placement as an educator in afterschool.

With coronavirus taking an emotional and financial toll on everyone, Pathways is also stepping in to support participants in the short-term and keep them focused on their long-term goals.

“A few weeks ago we had a Zoom call to discuss Coronavirus and what people could do to during this time,” says Jacob, who graduated from St. Fisher College with a bachelor’s degree in television and film. “At Pathways, people treat us like adults, not like kids, and they provide so much inspiring mentorship.”

For many participants, Pathways offers the encouragement they need to make the decision to become teachers, a career that requires dedication, resiliency, and perseverance.

This year, a number of Pathways participants were accepted into prestigious teacher preparatory programs, including the New York City Teaching Fellows programs.

“Pathways is phenomenal – it really helped me cultivate those missing pieces around education,” Jacob says. “When they brought in educators who had been in the field for 20 years it inspired me to go for it.”

Prior to becoming a substitute teacher, Jacob was working as an afterschool educator with NIA, a community-based organization that serves Brooklyn. In this role, Jacob supported fourth graders in English, math, and community bonding and realized just how much he wanted to become a teacher.

Although Jacob’s efforts to achieve his life goals may be temporarily on hold, he knows that it is just a matter of time before he resumes working toward applying to an alternative certification teaching program and then graduate school so that he can become an elementary school teacher.

“Teaching is definitely the end goal,” Jacob says.

If you are interested in applying to Pathways, you can find the application here: https://bit.ly/ApplytoPathways2021

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