Teach Houston

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 31 2015

Year 3

The whole TeachForUs site is a mess right now, but I still want to give an update about how things are going so that if they clean up the site someday, an update will still remain.

I “graduated” from TFA this past spring and am currently in my third year of teaching. Still at my original placement school, still teaching in the same classroom. Teaching is different this year. It’s far easier, that’s for sure, and infinitely more enjoyable. My beloved Class of 2020 has been them most wonderful, consistently respectful group of mini angels I’ve ever taught. We spent all of fall reading Persepolis and learning about Islam. After viewing Trump’s prejudiced statements on the news every morning, my favorite class asked if I could get a Muslim guest speaker to come and share some thoughts with the class. I’m doing my best to make it happen.

The days themselves are flying by. I teach both regular English and Reading Intervention – the latter of which has been far trickier to do well – but most of my time is actually spent on non-teaching pursuits. I’m in charge of my grade level English team for the district; I design the course/unit plan/assessments and support teachers instructionally throughout the year. I’ve also been instructionally supporting another teacher at my school who’s really struggling. Additionally, I’m in a cohort of “developing leaders” at my district. We meet once a month for learning, reflection, and fellowship. I love it.

Next year, I’ll either be teaching at my placement school (moving up to high school English, most likely) or serving in an administrative role. Applications come out next week. I still struggle to figure out my future, but I’ve come to accept that such is life for 20somethings today; things will work out the way they’re meant to.

I moved out of my old apartment and now live with a friend from college who works for a research firm. I’m so grateful to live with a non-teacher. She shows me what life is like outside of teaching, where actual work-life balance exists, and her habits (like going to bed at 10 and going for long runs on weekends) inspire me. I’ve drifted apart from a few of the closest friends I had while I was in the Corps. Our lives are very different now, and sometimes it makes me sad, but again – such is life for 20somethings today. I’m still best friends with the three other teachers who were on my team that first year. We send each other long life update emails and edit each other’s grad school personal statements. All three of them will be in grad school next year. I know grad school’s in my future, for sure, but Houston’s been so good to me. I want to give it one more year.

As I get more distance from TFA it becomes easier to reflect on all it meant to me – what it was, how it felt, why it mattered so much. There were certainly elements of my TFA experience that I now look back on and cringe – mainly Institute – and wonder why I did the things I did. But far and above, the two greatest elements of TFA were people and purpose. TFA gave me mentors at a time in life when I needed them most. It gave me forever-friends. It gave me hope. And it gave me purpose. I learned to never settle for good enough, to push for continuous improvement, to always always always keep “what is best for kids?” at the forefront when making decisions. TFA caught me to be courageous and fearless.

I am indebted.

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    Journeys, challenges, & writings of a first-year teacher.

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