Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teach For America!

what crazy person thinks i should teach young children!?

Its official!! I'm moving back to TEXAS in February 2009!!!

I found out last week I was accepted to Teach for America and will be teaching elementary school in HISD for the next two years!! WOO HOO!!I know that me applying for TFA is uber-random, but living in D.C. has opened my eyes to alot– that I want to make a difference in someone's life, and be able to pass on the blessings that have so filled my life. I'll recommend Teach for America's website to learn more in replace of me rambling, but their mission -to bridge the education gap between low and high income schools, the "haves" and the "have-nots"-is so inspiring!

I discussed in my application how living in D.C. has opened my eyes to the hypocrisy of America's education system. Within walking distance of the Capitol building, schools have insufficient resources and astoundingly high drop out rates. The problem can't completely be solved by the government, the schools, or TFA – some of it will have to happen at homes, in society. But TFA is making huge strides towards education equality, and I am THRILLED to be a part of the movement.

If I can reach one student during each of my two years in the classroom, I think my experience with TFA will be worth it. And, chances are, I'll reach each of them, some of them in big ways, most of them in small ways. I can't wait to meet these kids, to love them and teach them.

I do not want to wake up twenty years from now and wonder what I've done with my life, what kind of difference I've made. I look around and I see this great need for passionate teachers and for reform in the entire education system – and in society, too. Teach for America calls its applicants to TAKE ACTION! Not wait for the next opportunity that may come along.

I'm aware that TFA teachers/alumni can appear at times to have a "better-than-thou" outlook. In by no way am I judging people who aren't doing TFA and work 9-5 jobs. Obviously, I've been working a 9-5 job for the last year. And I applaud teachers that are not teaching in an inner city, poverty stricken school. There are certainly abundant challenges in middle-class schools, and if every motivated, knowledgeable citizen taught in a struggling school district, who would teach kids that were just like me? It's not the answer to completely forget the "haves" while we focus on improving the education of the "have-nots."

This is what I know: in all my life, I have never felt more sure about doing anything. I first heard of Teach for America in middle school, and learned more in college from recruiters. It was something I immensely respected but never personally considered. In June 2008, Patrick Connor, an Aggie who is in his second year of TFA in the D.C. area, told me stories from his classroom. It was the night before the last day of the school year, so he certainly was focusing on funny, positive stories due to his excitement at the thought of summer, but I was beyond inspired. I thought, oh my gosh, this is something I have to look into. This is something I could (maybe) handle. Later that night I told my mom about the program and some of Patrick's stories. Over the summer, I read every inch of the Teach for America website and anxiously waited for the application to come available online in August. I know it will be hard; I will be frustrated, disenchanted, disappointed at the end of a lot of days.

But I also know that I have never felt more at peace about making a decision like this. Not the White House internship and coming to D.C. Not transferring from TCU to A&M. In life, God has made a lot of things pretty evident to me, and I have walked by faith. Teach for America, though, feels like something God has smacked me in the face with (in a loving way) and said: "Hello! I want you to do this!" It has been my prayer that if it was His will, I would somehow be accepted. I know I will need to rely fully on Him to get through the next two years, and I know the ride will be bumpy. But I am so excited, so thrilled, and so blessed beyond belief to be a part of this program. Friends, family, cyber world - thanks for your words of encouragement through this process. See you sooooon!

"For we walk by faith, and not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7


Paige said...

Congrats Courtney!!!! That is so exciting! You are going to be such an amazing teacher for those kids...and I would love to be a fly on the wall in your classroom :) I love you so much and will be praying for you!!


The Neelys said...

Congrats Courtney!! I am so so excited for you :)and so glad that you will be joining us back in the great state of Texas! You will be a wonderful teacher and get the kiddos excited about learning I am sure. I'll be praying for you & can't wait for you to be just an hour and a half away!