The past three months since I got my TFA acceptance have essentially been one long exercise in relinquishing control. It’s ironic, really, especially considering TFA takes such great pains to recruit and select applicants who have been so purposeful/intentional about their respective life paths. I will unabashedly admit I am awful at giving up control, whether it’s when working on group projects, co-coordinating campuswide organizations, or even going on trips with other people. I know it’s something that will probably come back to bite me later and I’ve definitely gotten better at delegation over the years, but still. It’s tough.
I look at where I am now, and just think about all the unknowns:
1. I don’t know what grade I will teach.
2. I don’t know which subject I will teach.
3. I don’t know whether I will teach at a charter or non-charter school.
4. I don’t know which school I will teach at.
5. I don’t know where I’ll live.
6. I don’t know who I’ll live with or how many people I will live with.
7. I don’t know who my friends will be, how I’ll spend my weekends, or whether I will be lonely.
8. I don’t know if I will ever have free time or if I will be able to maintain the non-teacher parts of myself.
I know these things will work themselves out; granted, the “working-out” process will likely take place on vastly different timetables.
One of the most unnerving aspects of the entire socialization-into-TFA-and-new-teacher-identity process is what TFA calls “placement.” Placement is the process by which TFA works with local charter and non-charter school districts to match new TFA corps members with open positions in these districts. It seems like an incredibly opaque process. I have no idea what goes into it. Given only a series of somewhat-cryptic emails, I am latched to the process of just continually checking my email and hoping more info will come trickling in each week.
Perhaps I am an outlier – perhaps I shouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about TFA or building up my expectations, because it just makes me more nervous to imagine a scenario in which my ideal expectations don’t work out. But it’s hard not to think about the future. It’s hard not to spin scenarios in your head, hard not to imagine your weekends a year from now, hard not to be able to plan where you will exercise or go to synagogue or meet up with friends after the workweek.
I want so badly to know things I may not find out for weeks or months, so in the meantime, I wait.