I applied to Team Read because I thought it was a good way to get more involved with the district. I didn’t have much experience working with elementary students either, so I thought it would be an interesting job. Now that this year is coming to an end, my biggest takeaway from Team Read was how to lead with compassion and that vulnerability creates a chain reaction. There were some days where my readers weren’t feeling the best and while it was easy to just force them to read, taking time to talk about their day was a much more effective way to get them tuned in. Moreover, sharing my own struggles with online school validated their feelings and helped them realize they are not alone. This strengthened our relationship and made them more open to conversation about the books!

My favorite memory working with one of my readers was the first time she asked if we could reread a book. During our previous session, I explained how rereading a book will sound like we’re acting out a movie. That connected two dots in her head and she acted out lines of dialogue with so much expression!

I will be attending Smith College this fall, with the intention of double majoring in studio art and education. My Team Read readers were the final push that swayed me into the field of education. Their playful energy is contagious and being able to witness the amount of tangible growth they’ve made is incredibly rewarding! Furthermore, my readers have shown me how high of an honor it is helping a student uncover the beauty and gifts they possess. This is especially relevant in their age group, where a student’s inner child is still their physical reality.

Watch Diem and other inspiring teens in our first-ever Team Read Coach Panel!