Kate Belfay graduated from the School of Education in Jan ’09 with a MST in Adolescent Education (Biology) as a NYC Teaching Fellow. Kate was a nurse before realizing that she wanted to become not just a teacher, but a good teacher.
“Being a Teaching Fellow is a little different because you’re a little older and you have had a job before so you’re definitely making a conscious choice to switch career paths,” Kate said. “I had no idea what I was doing at first and I had a tough classroom but it was a great experience and helped me get to where I’m at now.”
Now Kate is teaching at Millennium High School in the Lower Manhattan area, and has been doing so for over five years, teaching both 11th and 12th graders in anatomy and physiology as well 9th graders in a combination of biology and chemistry .
“The principal is great and extremely supportive, the kids are hard-working and their parents are involved and I just love my co-workers. They care about being better teachers and we collaborate a lot and respect one another so the kids see that and follow suit.”
Kate credits the knowledgeable and approachable School of Education faculty most notably Dr. Art Maloney and Dr. Lauren Birney for the invaluable advice they shared with her during her studies at the School of Education. Kate points to how she was given real life answers not just from a textbook, and how they made their classes work hard while not making it boring or tedious.
“I would have issues in the classroom during the day and have a conversation with Professor Birney or Maloney about it during classroom time or in passing and they would really listen and give me viable solutions,” said Kate.
This past summer, Kate also spent 3-weeks in Africa on a teaching grant conducting research on deforestation in Kenya which will led to a project & discussion about deforestation in her own classroom. She expressed how Kenya is one of the most amazing and magical places she’s ever witnessed and how rich and fascinating the culture, the wildlife and the people were.
“Over in Kenya, everybody feels like they’re rich and not poor and almost everybody has a cellphone and can speak with solid knowledge about America. It was such a great trip; I wish I could’ve brought my whole class with me.”
When Kate is not teaching, you can find her submerged in her other passion, Cross Country, where she is currently coaching JV and Varsity boys and girls track. The girls team finished 3rd in the Manhattan League Championship last season and brought home the school’s first athletic trophy. They also earned a plaque for Outstanding Girls Team from a summer camp outside of Seattle, WA.
“Coaching is awesome and I really love the kids. They work very hard and their energy is so contagious that I can’t help but to leave them in a good mood no matter what stress I may have had prior,” stated Kate.