We sat down with Sierra Strattner, a master teacher at AF Iluminar Elementary, to learn more about her teaching journey.
Let’s start with something easy. What do you teach?
I teach third grade reading at AF Iluminar Elementary.
Can you tell us more about yourself and what brought you to teach at Achievement First?
I grew up in Newport, Rhode Island. I went to George Washington University then I did Teach For America in Hartford, Connecticut. I actually got placed at AF Hartford Academy Elementary as a founding teacher. After working in Hartford for four years, I moved to New York to attend graduate school at Columbia University. I realized I missed working at AF, so I taught at AF Endeavor Elementary, and now I’m back home in Rhode Island at AF Iluminar Elementary. I think it’s pretty special that I’ve had the opportunity to teach in all three regions.
Why did you go into education?
There were a lot of things leading me to teaching. I remember being in North Carolina with my family on vacation, and all of my family members sat me down and started telling me that I should consider teaching. In college, I spent time nannying, working with kids and families, and I did some volunteer work with kids, but I was feeling anxious about not doing something in the field I studied. I did TFA not really knowing what to expect, and I just fell in love with it. I really LOVE being a teacher. I don’t have a desire to do any other job right now, I just want to teach. I see myself being a teacher at AF Iluminar for a long time.
Can you share a moment in your teaching career that has stood out to you?
A couple years ago, I got an email from a dean at AF Hartford Academy Elementary that was sent to all the founding teachers. The dean told us all our students were going to be graduating from eighth grade. So I went to the graduation and watched my former students graduate. It was really special because I taught them when they were six and seven, and now they were on their way to high school. Some of them called my name as they walked on stage, and I couldn’t believe how different they looked!
That’s really special. Thank you for sharing, Sierra. And Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!