I never would have expected my college career to culminate in becoming a Teach For America corps member. My appreciation and gratitude to all the friends and family members that have supported my decision to do this is overwhelming. Although I seem to be getting caught off guard at the pre work already (finally caught up on all the forms, payments, and created an organizing document on googledocs), I cannot wait for everything to begin.
When I was applying I searched around for examples of letters of intent and found one via this site (teachfor.us). It was a good tool as I started to articulate my own mission and expectations. I’m going to post mine in hopes I might help future 2011 CMs, and to explain why I made this decision for anyone that starts following (or stumbles upon) my journey as an educator.
(my) 2010 Corps Member Letter of Intent:
If there is one thing I’ve learned from studying Graphic Design in college, it’s that my interests and ambitions stretch far beyond my major.
I love my classes, all my professors and peers know me well, I am Vice President of our chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and have a design internship. After such an education, Graphic Design is a practice I could easily begin a career in, but first I feel there are other things I must accomplish.
As I grow older and my understanding of the world expands, I’ve become increasingly restless. Raised in an upper-middle class, predominantly white suburb of Detroit, “poverty” was a word. My university studies have tailored me to be a great designer, but they have had no real emphasis on community impact or social problems evident where we live. It wasn’t until I took a sociology class that, despite a campus with demographics similar to my hometown, I began to see a city in which poverty was reality for a quarter of its residents and my ignorance began to dissolve.
When my older sister applied to Teach For America, I began to see my education in a new light; I realized that I am not tied down to the major I choose or excluded from what I do not choose. This is a drastically different philosophy from what most of my peers and professors have demonstrated. College became one door leading to an infinite number of new doors, and none of them have to be strictly Graphic Design.
Every day I consider and am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given in my life, and every day I ache for the children that aren’t even shown that these opportunities exist. I know Graphic Design is a profession that can and will wait for me, but right now I want to dedicate myself to eliminating the injustice that all children don’t have the ability to receive the same education I had. I believe each child deserves to know his potential is uncapped, and her abilities are beyond her understanding.
When I worked as an Operations Coordinator at the 2009 Philly Institute, my restlessness became determination. Before my work at institute I was interested but unsure about my personal potential as a corps member. It was too easy to realize that the responsibility and commitment from such a position is enormous. But I eventually realized that this challenge is not an option. The children receiving unacceptable educations are already my responsibility as we share one, supposedly equal, nation. The commitment is a step I must take because I am in a position where I can. This blunt, tireless and powerful organization is the place where I can begin working to give all children the opportunities they deserve.
By joining Teach For America, I wish to begin a life-changing career as a life-changer. My success as a corps member will stem from my ability to empower students with ambition to own their educations, and use them to do incredible, positive things in their lives.