My journey to Teach For America started last fall. I had friends who had applied in the past, and friends who’d become corps members, but I’d never thought much about it. Some of them must have submitted my name to TFA, because I started getting stalked with informational e-mails and the like. I skimmed over them, planned to take action on them later, and never did. Ultimately, I did attend an information session, and I left it very interested in the program, but not yet inspired to believe it was my destiny.
A week later, during the last weekend of October, I left Nashville to head to a journalism conference in Washington, D.C. Originally, I had planned to stay with a friend who works as a lobbyist. Several days before I was to leave, said friend had to back out of the agreement, because her housemate’s extended family was coming into town. Frantically, I reached out to a good friend who is a 2010 Baltimore corps member. She and her house-mates were more than willing to let me spend a few days in their house.
While I really enjoyed the journalism conference and learned a lot, I found something sort of missing. I was excited about the opportunities ultimately available in journalism, but disappointed that the only way to get into the field was doing mundane work – namely, rewriting press releases in mass quantities, with virtually no chance for advancement. At the same time, I spent every night with the Baltimore corps members. Things in the classroom were not going particularly well for any of them at that point. But nobody was about to give up. And that’s sort of how I knew it was where I belonged. At one point at a social gathering, after I found myself talking with two others who followed the journalism path in college, someone said “Yay! Wayward journalists!”
And I think that’s how I see this new, unexpected journey. In journalism, I used stories to make change. Now I’ll create change through teaching.
I’m currently at Houston Institute, en route to teach 7th grade writing in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Institute is keeping me really busy, but check back for updates soon!