Our “Why I Teach” series resumes with Ms. Acosta, whose belief in the transformative power of reading brought her to a career in education. A native of France, Ms. Acosta moved to Haiti with her family as a teen. She came to the Boston area as a high school junior and says, “I fell in love with English as a high school senior. My English teacher really made the subject come alive and relatable to real life. I began to look at characters and stories in a new light. I have loved reading and writing ever since.”
Why I Teach by Dora Acosta
Teaching clicked for me during my junior year of college. A professor and I started a literacy program for the juvenile probation system at Dorchester District Court. Entitled “Changing Lives Through Literature,” our program encouraged at-risk youth to not only increase the amount of time they spent reading, but also to discuss some of issues that they were dealing with and recognize the parallels in the texts that we were reading as a group. I loved how our students really bought into the program and participated wholeheartedly. I firmly believe that it fostered a need to read within many of them, fostering a personal connection with literature that had been lacking in their prior schooling. This experience made me realize the positive impact that literature and teachers can have on young people’s lives beyond the classroom. It made me want to become a teacher so that I can help other students connect what they are learning in school to their present lives and their future dreams.
As an associate teacher, at CCSC I support students who struggle with reading, and my goal is to help them develop into avid, lifelong readers. With its emphasis on the humanities and literacy programs like DEAR, I think CCSC does a great job of helping students understand the importance of reading well and widely and the impact it will have on their lives. So, naturally, when I joined the CCSC faculty in 2013 it felt like a great fit.
Ms. Acosta holds a BA from UMass Boston and an MA from Eastern Nazarene College. She teaches English Language Arts for 7th and 8th graders and Humanities for 9th graders, and advises 10th graders.