The Engaged Idealist

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 14 2014

Meetings and Misconceptions

I will be the first to agree that TFA is far from perfect. Every year they tweak their program slightly in each community to better serve where they are. This I can account for due to the endless surveys and data I must supply and the quick changes I see occur once the data has been synthesized.

Unfortunately being a new teacher is scary, not because of kids, but because of colleagues. You don’t wanna be the person that offends or steps on toes, but you also don’t want to seem annoying. Its a weird line to walk, and almost feels like I am back in school myself.

This week was professional development for the whole district’s new teachers. I was really excited to meet people, but something weird happened. There were a few people who were really accepting of TFA and welcomed us as they too were nervous and excited for their first year here. However, I was very scared to talk to others about TFA.

Overall, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about our program and it saddens me.

It saddens me that someone can be kind to my face and when I mention TFA they suddenly assume I don’t want to really teach or that I will move away, or that I am in this for the money or a resume boost. If any of that were true, this would not be the program for it. I have said it before, and I will say it again. There are much easier ways to get a resume boost and money than Teach for America.

Also, I will go to the end’s of the earth to get my kids the supplies they need, give them the instruction they deserve, and I have never spent more time planning or organizing and caring for people other than myself ¬†or close friends and family in my life. Just because the program is two years does not mean I will only teach for two years, it doesn’t mean that I will only live here for two years, and it sure as hell does not mean I will only care for two years. I took this position after weeks of prayer, meditation, pros and cons lists, and deep reflection.

So yes, the program isn’t perfect, but that is with anything! I had terrible teachers in high school and I did NOT write off all traditional teachers as bad. Instead, I choose to believe those who become teachers chose a noble route with lots and lots work with little immediate gratitude.

I am not asking for you to assume I will be a good or bad teacher. I am simply pleading that you give me a chance to enter the classroom and show you how much I care and how much I will do for my students. And believe me, I do care. I had a choice to be a teacher or to be a PhD candidate, or go to med school, or be a counselor. I chose to teach. I want to do this.

I did meet some amazing people from all walks of life though and I am so excited to start this journey alongside them.


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