Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 22 2010

Should I do TFA?

It’s funny because if I were to have done my research prior to applying (and later committing to) to Teach for America, I do not know that I would have followed through.  However, hindsight being 20-20, I do have questions that you can ask yourself to determine if you “should” “do” “TFA?” All things being highly political, of course.

But first, ramblings.

I thought I did my research because I googled everything about the organization. And yes, I found that terrible article with something to the effect of TFA spitting out an Ethnic Studies major. And yes, I saw the countless message board postings from law school admissions hopefuls. And yes, I previewed messages from the angry parents of CM’s. But I wrote those CM’s off like “Psshhh. That’s why you’re having a hard time – because your parents are all in your business and you haven’t grown up enough.” Despite living all this,  and feeling how I do now, I still feel that way.

Every time I call my mother to even broach the topic of “I’ve made a huge mistake,” I can’t even turn the conversation that way. Why? Because she’s forever telling me to try this, or try that, or do this, or do that. So while my mother is in my business, she’s there because I invited her to be, and because she believes that I can do this. Or rather, she knows that I will do it. She seems to know more than I do most of the time which I guess is why she gets to be mom. Other people’s parents, however,  are quick to tell them they can come home anytime and that TFA failed them in XYZ ways. But my mother doesn’t do that.  Why does she believe in me so much?

Questions to Consider:

Will your parents ask/suggest/cry/beg  you to come home when you are unhappy?

Let’s hope not.

Are you strong enough to resist?

it will be too tempting, so you better be.

Are you as tough as nails?

you must be.

Are you caring, loving and sensitive?

you must be.

Are you forgiving?

you must be.

Are you a perfectionist?

this actually will not help you.

Are you scared of hard work?

and no, hard work is not getting a 4.0 and being a student leader.  that’s called being a college student.

Are you flexible?

can you not only bend, but move?

Are you resilient?

Will you work relentlessly every single day NOT ONLY for the good kids but for the  someones who tell you (loudly, while you’re teaching) that you’re a fat bitch and a shitty teacher?*

*Careful, that’s a trick question, because if you lie, you’re not only hurting yourself, but the other little minds under your leadership.

3 Responses

  1. Good list! I would add “can you handle failure?”

    Teaching – especially the first year – is all about failures, large and small on a daily basis. I think most of the people who bow out of TFA do so because they can’t handle that on some level.

  2. Gueraven

    I love your mom – what a great way to parent.

  3. Amelia1

    excellent post– pretty sure my mom does the same thing 3 times a month, at least (and yikes, I’m not even a teacher, though I do work with the same population that TFA seems to target, mine just have already been through juvie)

    Been liking this take on TFA, very witty and great image of what it’s really like day-to-day:

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a Teach For America teacher’s blog

Greater Philadelphia

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