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6 - Advice from Relay students and alumni
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From a current Relay student: 

"I have two different sections of coursework that I complete; core courses, which focus on teaching in general, and content courses, which focus on using content knowledge. I feel as though my core courses have truly brought in differing perspectives on what it is like to be a student in America. 


We have a diverse group of teachers in my program, and during core courses we are able to discuss and use our differing experiences, both as students and as teachers, to collaborate and grow. We spend a lot of time in our core course working on ensuring that our students feel seen, heard, and valued, and on building relationships. These values help me to better reach my students in math, which is still frequently seen as a subject for white males. 


While I entered this program with a strong knowledge of what the standards for math were in middle and high school, I feel as though my content courses have taught me to break down those standards in a way that makes them less convoluted and more easily accessible. The way standards are written does not really provide a timeline guide of how and when students should be introduced to these topics, and the content courses at Relay have provided me with a way to understand basic timelines, not only through content but also through adolescent development."

What Self-Care Practices Did You Establish as a First Year Relay Student?


  • Prioritize exercise or meditation. Take an hour or two each day to do something not Relay or school related. Try your best to make connections with fellow first years as they will understand your experiences the most. 
  • Drink lots of water and pack a lunch the night before. A better diet was great for my personal heath this year!

Support System

  • Make sure you have a strong support system in place, whether it’s other residents in your cohort or a loved one outside of the program. 
  • Partner with other Residents to be study buddies - a helpful accountability technique! Or, just meet with them for a meal or a drink.


  • Do your Relay assignments as early as possible so you have time to rest and not get burned out. 
  • Try and get all your school work done at school during off periods, lunch, or by staying late! Do graduate school work off campus. This really helps balance and prioritize both responsibilities.
  • Use a planner or calendar and set goals for when you want to complete your assignments and stick to it!

Me Time

  • Always take at least one hour after work to relax and watch your favorite show - or a different hobby, as long as it's something you do just for yourself
  • Set a time that you will hold yourself to turning off your computer and winding down before bed time. Don’t work on your computer until the moment you shut you eyes, but take 30 minutes to read, draw, journal, listen to music, whatever helps you turn off your mind and enjoy yourself.
  • Start a gratitude journal! Every day write three things you are grateful for. It helped ease my mind and stress, and I was able to let my feelings and tensions go on paper. 


What Systems Did You Use to Manage Your Time?

- I suggest using a planner and your Outlook calendar.

  • - I make a sticky note for the day and put it on my mirror and look at it while I get ready. It helps me internalize my plans. 

  • - I would recommend speaking to someone you know is good witha time management. I spoke to one of the professors, and she helped me go in-depth with my planning and my schedule.

  • - Set timers for yourself for study & homework time. If it is two hours a day, make sure you dedicate that time only for your homework or study. If you use your phone or are distracted, pause the timer, and then continue the timer when you are doing your work again.
     Set deadlines for yourself, maybe a couple of days before the actual due date to ensure that you have it done and stick to them! 

What Apps or Tools do You Use to be Your Best Self?

*Note: The apps listed above reflect the suggestions from current students. The use of any of these apps is entirely at the users discretion.  

What Helps You Stay Motivated?

  • My students. They have really made such a lasting impact on me. On days I just feel challenged or tired, I look back at the notes and drawings they’ve given me and see that I have made an impact on them. 

  • Staying connected with the other Residents in the Teaching Residency. 

  • Staying focused on the end goal and remembering daily why I want to be a part of this profession. 

  • My family keeps me very motivated. I also want to succeed for myself and truly help impact my community and others around me in a positive way. 

  • Thinking about when I was in school and what that experience was like.

  • Taking a step back and appreciating all your hard work and your kids hard work.

  • Use those bright moments from teaching to fuel the days when you feel stretched beyond your limits. Think about who your students are and what will put a smile on their faces.

  • The journey is terrifying but so rewarding! Whether you are a career changer, a naive graduate, or an experienced veteran, nothing prepares you for the joy you feel in the classroom. Even on your worst days, you are still changing a part of someone's world. With that being said, you cannot set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. You must take care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself for your students. 


Words of Wisdom from Relay Alumni

"I truly cherish my Relay experience as my professors & Dean provided incredible support. In addition, I have formed lasting friendships through the Residency." -Heather B., Dallas/Fort Worth


"My Relay experience was rigorous and challenging, yet so worth it." - Michael W., Delaware 


"Relay gave me practical skills that I could implement immediately in the classroom. Relay also helped built my content knowledge and set me up to work successfully with all learners." -Emily G., New York City


"My Relay experience was rich and filled with experience which shaped me into the teacher I am today." -Abagail L., Washington, D.C.


"Be open and transparent during this experience and give your all! It may be hard at times but the reward in the end is worth the process." -Azilee K., Baton Rouge


"Embrace deliberate practice and make intentional connections between your Relay work and your daily classroom teaching with your students." -Shannon K., Denver


"Learn to advocate for yourself. Work with your school and with RELAY to ensure you are getting the most out of your residency experience." - Michael G., Houston


"Take everything Relay has to offer. You are getting the best education. You are learning how to teach while teaching! It wont be easy but it will be worth it!" -Rachel LaDonna M., Philadelphia/Camden

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