October 1, 2020
by Ishika Muppidi, MPA senior
Ishika spent her summer with Breakthrough Twin Cities (BTC), a local organization closely partnered with MPA. Breakthrough is a challenging academic enrichment program for highly motivated, under-resourced students, where all the teachers are high school and college students.
I chose to get involved with Breakthrough for a number of reasons, one being that I had heard of it from a variety of different people. I thought it would be a good way for me to see what being a teacher felt like, as that’s always been something I’ve been interested in. I’ve had such good experiences at MPA with my teachers and I wanted to be able to give similar experiences and support to other students. When I was in Mexico, my options were limited because I wasn’t fluent in Spanish, so I couldn’t really join any programs that allowed me to help younger students, and I often just ended up helping my peers. I had a lot of fun, but when I came back and heard of Breakthrough, it was an opportunity for me to do what I hadn’t been able to do before. I’ve always loved helping people, even with the smallest of things, and Breakthrough allows me to do that with those who really need it.
I think my MPA experience has shaped my ambition to do right in the world because even at a very basic level, it has taught me morals and what’s right and wrong. My experience at MPA has definitely played a part in how I view the world and the way I think about things. My teachers have never shied away from talking about public events and what’s going on around us, never failing to educate us on the matters at hand, and I think that’s played a huge part in my ambition to do right in this world. Outside the classroom in MPA, I hear the opinions of everyone (classmates, friends, faculty, parents, etc.) and I’m able to shape my beliefs out of everything, and use that, as well as the basic morals I was taught, to “do right in this world.”
I learned so much this past summer. Not just in terms of content–which I did because I had to research for my classes–but in general. I was teaching science and mythology/superheroes, so I learned content in that area. But I also learned how to plan a unit, individual lessons, and manage students, schedules, and classrooms. I learned how to guide advisees, co-teach, teach groups of students, and form relationships with co-faculty, staff, students, and even parents. I learned how to plan events, work in a committee, and what all goes on behind the scenes of a school day. I think I’ve changed in the sense that I have so much more respect for teachers. I already respect them a ton, but just going through lesson plans and prep for hours and hours just gave me a whole other perspective. So, I think I was able to see the other side and understand teachers better. I also think I’ve grown in the way that I’m not afraid to “come out of my shell” anymore. I’m normally a bit quiet around new people, but going through the experience of Breakthrough and all, I feel like I’m much more comfortable and open around new people now.