There is so much left to do and say in the matter of days before my life changes quite drastically.
I have been anxiously waiting to receive my official placement for more than a couple weeks now. Originally, Teach For America wanted me to get certified for Generalist 4-8. A few weeks ago they added English/Language Arts 8-12. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. Of course I LOVE the English/LA part! It’s the grade level I’ve been focusing on. I feel teaching any grade has both its ups and downs, and I doubt many of the generalizations I may try to make about students in a given grade would be entirely accurate. I’m a little nervous about being placed in a high school. I’ve always preferred working with older kids, with whom I can talk more honestly with (ie-not in a cutesy little voice all day, although I do love younger kids in smaller doses!). But I feel I can be myself more and therefore relate better with those closer to my age. However, I am worried about being too close in age to my students in the case that it might negatively determine how well they listen to me…
Still, I know all I can do is wait and see. I am much more excited than I am nervous about discovering what grade and even subject I will end up teaching. I have begun to believe, ever since I was placed in Houston, that things really do happen for a reason. And even though my heart often still aches to be in St. Louis or Chicago for the next two years instead, I presume that I am meant to fulfill my TFA commitment in Houston for a reason. Similarly, I believe the grade I am assigned to teach will also be ‘meant-to-be.’ This all leads into a much larger discussion, at least in my mind, about fate vs free-will; and as I am not entirely sure where I stand on this matter, and also because I have too many other thoughts on my mind right now, I will try to end the ‘meant-to-be’ part of this entry right here.
Anyway, I interviewed with a charter school a couple weeks ago. It was a phone interview. I prepared for hours using the commonly asked questions sheet TFA provided us with (we filled out responses and they provided feedback!) and researching commonly asked teacher questions on my own. I prepared basic answers just so I wouldn’t be caught off guard due to nerves. I woke up early to review. First thing the interviewer says to me on the phone?? “This will be a behavioral interview…” I almost laughed out loud as I threw my pointless preparation aside. Still, I believe I managed to do alright. Even though I still randomly beat myself up for not asking more questions at the end!! (I only asked 2 and neither were personal or, probably, expressed my interest very much. I was nervous =/)
Still, for about the past week or so I have anxiously been checking my email all too often to see whether or not I have an official placement yet. This is a school that had formerly reserved me, and from the research I’ve done online I really would love to work there (not that I have much to compare it to). I’m not really sure how to feel about the charter school thing. Yes there are longer hours involved all-around, but from what I read about the results and achievement-oriented culture AND the commitment to service – I’m basically sold. Alas, I have yet to hear back from them!
I can’t wait to hear of my placement so I can REALLY start preparing and envisioning in more detail. I also ache for anything that will make this all feel more…REAL. Sometimes I think back to last spring semester when I first began seriously considering TFA. I always told myself and everyone around me that I needed to ensure many backup options because of how incredibly selective TFA appeared to be, and I am still sometimes in disbelief that I made the cut! Sometimes I feel myself waiting for it all to be pulled right out from under me. Is that ridiculous? I’m sure once training starts it will all feel much more real (maybe too real, from what I’ve read!).
On June 2 I leave for Houston for 5 weeks of training. Before then, I have A LOT of pre-institute work left to complete (yikes!), much paperwork in general, lots to pack (umm where do I put you memory foam/comforter/pillows/printer?!?!?), a sister to pick up from college, and several amazing friends to see and bid a painful – albeit temporary, for now – goodbye to.
I’m sure it will all fly right by me. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I already laid out most of my feelings in the previous entry so I’ll simply leave it at that.