After graduation, Danny Berger ’20 will join City Year in Philadelphia for the 2020-21 academic year. City Year is an education nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students and schools succeed by partnering with public schools in 29 high-need communities across the U.S. Berger will work at a school in an underserved or low-income community as a teaching assistant and tutor for both English language arts and math.
What made you interested in pursuing a role with City Year?
I was interested in City Year because I had already done some teaching with Writopia Labs in DC, and loved the experience. With City Year, we are going to be tutors … and I am excited to get back into the teaching chair again.
Seeing students’ change in energy when they become deeply engaged or finally "get" a difficult concept is so empowering and such a great feeling that I wanted to be able to do it for a full year before pursuing other avenues.
City Year also provides a nice community feel and team-oriented work through their service, so I appreciated that as well. I can't wait to live in a new place, and because Philadelphia is an entirely new place to me, it's going to be truly a year of exploring as much as a job.
What inspired you to try out education?
As I have already dipped my toes into the world of education, I wanted to make sure that before I went toward a career path that focused on a lot of individual work, that I served a community for a considerable period of time.
Being an educator in underserved cities and schools is such necessary work to do, and I realized that this was the perfect time in my life to go and serve, and be an educator.
My inspiration to educate comes from all of the experiences that I have had with the people who have educated me. The best teachers I have ever had have been energetic, passionate, and have believed deeply in their students, and I want to replicate those qualities during my year in Philly.
Major: Creative Writing
Hometown: Washington, DC
High School: Georgetown Day School
What do you see yourself doing after completing this year of teaching?
If I fall in love with City Year during my year in Philly, I have the option to repeat for a second year, and work as a team leader. If I decide I want to move on, I’ve been really interested in getting into the world of publishing. After meeting with Hamilton alums who are in the publishing field, they inspired me to pursue that field. Working with the written word in some capacity has been my goal since high school, and those alums that I have connected with showed me that there’s a definite spectrum within that goal, whether that be writing novels, becoming an editor, working as a literary agent, or any number of careers in between.
Did any extracurriculars or classes really shape your Hamilton experience?
I’d say my primary extracurricular at Hamilton has been the Buffers. (It) is something that I’ve really enjoyed because it provides a sense of community and a really fun creative outlet. The Buffers have also given me opportunities to perform at places like Radio City Music Hall, which is something I never thought that I’d have the chance to do. Every one of those guys is family to me.
I’m also a tour guide, which is super fun. Getting to meet future students and helping shape the next generation of Hamiltonians is such a cool job to have, and I love engaging with those students.
Three classes really stick out to me. First is "Madness, Murder, Mayhem," a class on 19th Century Russian Literature, which was taught by Professor Bartle, who was the main reason I enjoyed that class so much. He came in to teach with such a fire behind his eyes, and also a level of infectious humor, that it was impossible not to be engaged.
Second is my Fiction Writing Workshop, which is the class I came to Hamilton for, in a lot of ways. As I knew I wanted to write fiction and major in creative writing before coming to college, finally getting into my first Fiction Workshop felt extremely gratifying to me, and it was the first time in years that I felt I was being pushed to succeed by a classroom of people that all had the same goals I did.
Third is the class I took on Climate Change with Professor Strong. Climate Change was one of the most genuinely engaging courses I’ve taken at Hamilton, and as relevant as it is, Professor Strong makes it feel even more so. Every student should take that class, it’s a gem.