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SAGA training transforms lives in more ways than one.

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Antonio Gutierrez | August 26, 2016

Most people become SAGA Fellows because they feel a strong desire to help. They join our organization in order to give back, to help change the world and to transform the lives of at-risk students.

What they often don’t realize is how much their own lives will be transformed.

It starts with the training they receive. Our Fellows receive more than 70+ hours of professional development before beginning their 10-month assignment. They learn how to plan lessons and how to manage behavior in the classroom – skills that leave them ready to handle complex tasks and interactions in their future careers. They engage in role-playing scenarios that prepare them for the wide variety of situations they’ll encounter in the classroom, and they participate in practice tutorials with real students so that they can hit the ground running on day 1 of their 10-month assignment.

Then there’s the feedback. In many jobs you’d be lucky to get quality feedback every month or every quarter – SAGA Fellows get feedback every day, either in a formal sit-down meeting or through short written notes. The Fellows and their site director identify what’s working and what’s not, discuss alternative strategies and ways to continue improving in their work. When you have that kind of intensive focus on your performance, the development of skills and growth as a person is incredible.

The relationships with other Fellows can be life-changing as well. As a SAGA Fellow, you’re on a team that’s working together day in and day out for a greater goal. Our Fellows share a great sense of mission and spend time together formally and informally strategizing ways to be more effective. Working in groups of 9 – 12 people, Fellows develop tight-knit relationships and life-long bonds, dedicated to helping students during the day and to socializing together on evenings and weekends. One of the greatest aspects of being a Fellow: no homework to grade. Work stays at work so there’s plenty of free time to hang out together.

And then, of course, there’s the work: the opportunity to turn around the lives and the educational trajectory of 14 students in a year. To work with them on a daily basis – and interact with their families weekly – in a way that will have lasting and profound impact on what they can achieve in life. There’s perhaps no greater feeling than knowing that you have helped to transform someone else’s life and, in the process, that they have transformed yours as well.

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