Kate Cappabianca Sharpens Her Teaching Skills with TEU Program

Manhattan College student, Kate Cappabianca. ANDREWMANNION/COURTESY

By: Andrew Mannion, Assistant Sports Editor

One of the main goals for students of Manhattan College is to prepare themselves for the career they hope to enter after graduation. Kate Cappabianca, a senior at MC, has taken those steps to help her prepare for a career in teaching.

MC provides many opportunities for students to continue their education during summer vacation. One of those is New York City’s Teaching Experience for Undergraduates (TEU) program which can help education majors further learn about their dream careers. 

According to an article by Vassar College, “The TEU program runs for seven weeks […] TEU participants will teach in teams of three during the practicum, closely mentored by experienced New York City teachers. The coordination and collaboration fostered by this co-teaching model has multiple benefits for participants.”

TEU students share different ideas about teaching. ANDREWMANNION/COURTESY

It is a competitive process with only six spots for the program. This leaves room for only the best candidates. Cappabianca spoke to the Quadrangle about the selection process and how only the top candidates would be admitted into the program.

“There were two or three essays that you had to write,” Cappabianca said. “There were no interviews or anything like that. It was just purely based on your application. Then it said it was pretty selective. I don’t know how selective it actually ended up being based on the applicant pool. Only six people were selected, and about 30 or 40 applied.”

Sister Mary Ann Jacobs, a sister at MC, told The Quadrangle about Cappabianca and the great work she has done during her time in Riverdale. She explained that she believed that Cappabianca was more than ready and deserving of this opportunity.

“Kate is focused, driven and inquisitive,” Sr. Mary Ann said. “In her math methods class, she designed her signature pedagogy for teaching math with the elements of collaboration, discussion and personalized problems. Kate envisions math instruction, especially for marginalized students, as teaching minds and touching hearts. She sees instruction as focusing on students and their needs first – and then engaging them in the beauty of math.”

One of the significant parts of the program is the pedagogy class. Pedagogy relates to how a teacher explains information to connect to different students. With the program being in NYC, Cappabianca learned many ways to relate math problems to kids that grow up within the city.

“I researched the reality pedagogy, which was developed by a guy from the Bronx, actually,” Cappabianca said. “It basically states that like we should, as white educators who teach in marginalized, high-need schools should make a conscious effort to immerse themselves in the community of the school, learn about their students and their backgrounds, be supportive and then also tailor their lessons to the students needs. What I mean by this is that one of the big examples in the book is if you’re teaching a physics class, you would calculate the speed of the one train.” 

The program has done wonders for Cappabianca’s confidence in her career in teaching. She explained to the Quadrangle that the program had taught things about a teacher’s career related to money and contracts that she did not know about prior to completing the program.

“I also feel way more prepared,” Cappabianca said. “(MC) doesn’t emphasize unions and contracts and things like that, like I would have had no idea about any of this stuff.”

Now coming up to her teaching career, Cappabianca truly knows her reason for going into the teaching world. She explained that creating an environment where all young kids can succeed and learn while being a part of a tight-knit community.

“I am most excited about getting to know my students and building relationships with them,” Cappabiana said. “So like, one of the parts of this pedagogy that I researched was building “intimate relationships” with them, and in turn that creates just an environment in the classroom where students are succeeding to their max. Also, I want my students to be able to talk to me and be able to voice their concerns and tell me like, “hey, when you taught this, this doesn’t make sense to me because of how you taught it” and things like that.”

The TEU program has seemingly taught Cappabianca some valuable ideas and lessons. Like many students at MC, she has taken great opportunities for her career path, and the payoff is just around the corner.