Why I Love Teaching at Rocketship
by Eliza Kritz, Rocketship Redwood City Prep Third Grade Teacher
My name is Eliza Kritz, and I am a proud founding teacher at Rocketship Redwood City Prep. Rocketship is a special place to work. Not only are you making an impact in the lives of your students, you are a part of a larger collective working towards equity for all. Here is why I love being a Rocketship Redwood City Prep teacher.
Rocketship is committed to developing strong teachers.
Teachers at Rocketship are observed and coached regularly by our skilled and knowledgeable administrators. Ms. Barboza, our principal, is in my classroom every single day, coaching me to be a stronger teacher–to ultimately make a high-quality education accessible to ALL of my students. Thanks to my training and my regular collaboration with my coach, I have the skills and understanding to analyze my students’ performance and figure out exactly what they need. Because we are given the support and resources we need to excel as teachers, we are held to very high standards–and my colleagues and I work tirelessly to meet and exceed these standards for the benefit of our students.
Throughout the school year, Rocketship teachers attend training sessions targeted toward the unique needs of our students. For example, because one of Rocketship’s highest priorities is to make a quality education accessible to English Language Learners, teachers are trained extensively in designing and implementing curriculum that enables students to develop strong academic language skills. Teachers at Rocketship are also trained in social-emotional learning. We lead regular community meetings in order to address the unique social-emotional needs of our classrooms. We are encouraged to model specific skills and to guide students in practicing skills they have learned in community meeting. Rocketship teachers strive to foster the development of students who are not only academically successful, but who are socially conscious and emotionally intelligent.
Collaborative relationships with families.
Another unique strength of the Rocketship model is its commitment to fostering strong, collaborative relationships with families. The parent support at our school is an essential tenet of our model. I know that if I need anything from a parent of any child in my classroom, all I need to do is communicate and a parent will ask how he or she can support. Sometimes parents come forward to help even before I ask, because they are so involved that they are able to anticipate the needs of the classroom. The students understand that their parents value education because their parents are so involved in their school lives–this is a big reason why our students are so invested in their learning and achievement.
A strong school culture.
One of Rocketship’s greatest strengths, in my opinion, is its culture. We teach students to value their education, take pride in their achievements, and set rigorous goals for themselves. Our students do not question whether they will be able to go to college. It is an expectation. From the moment they step foot on our campus, students are told that they can and they will go to college–and as teachers we make it our mission to provide them with the skills and resources they will need to get there. As a child, I believed I would go to college because my family, friends, and teachers told me that I would. This belief was what motivated me to excel in elementary and high school and to eventually attend a university. Our students are college-bound because they, and everyone in their lives, believe that they will go to college.
Eliza Kritz is a third grade teacher at Rocketship Redwood City Prep, where she has worked since its opening in 2015. She began at Rocketship as an Individualized Learning Specialist and earned her teaching credential the following year through the Rocketship Rising Teachers program. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2013 with a B.A. in English Literature.
Published on March 16, 2019