Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 10 2010

Fingerprints, Statistics, and Discriminative Children’s Stories


To be a licensed teacher in the Delta, one has to go through an FBI criminal background check, which requires official fingerprinting. As Delta CMs (Corps Members), we have been informed we must get printed at our local police station, that it will be free, and that the cards the prints go on are available to download off the site OR at the police station.

Friday, my only day I am not in class the hours our WMU police provides printing services. I am at work, about a quarter mile from the station. I call to verify they provide the service. Yes, until 4 o’clock. I take nothing with me, walk over, say to the receptionist I need fingerprints. She asks if I have the card. I say no, I was told police stations provide them? Turns out they don’t. I have to print it.

I walk back to work, print out the form, bring my huge backpack, and walk back. New receptionist. I need fingerprinting? She tells me to go down a hall and talk to a second receptionist. No questions about the card, but I have my print outs in hand.

Second receptionist:

I thought it was free?


I pay fifteen dollars. I wait for the officer. He walks in:
Oh! You have one of these printed out things, too, eh? Someone else brought one in last week. You see, the print outs don’t fit in our holder. (Opens cabinet) We use these pre-printed cards.


Actually getting my fingerprints was entertaining. I like how carefully the officer explained what he was going to do, and I am going to scan/photograph my prints for a school project. Although it was a bit of a hassle, I like these formal things I have to do for Teach For America. It was also nice to get a lot of walking in on a nice day.

Mah prints.


Finally got on that conference call I made so many mistakes with. It was brief, to the point, well hosted by Matty B, and included some statistics that made us CMs feel pretty empowered (or… I did at least…)

This year, 46,000 people applied for Teach For America.
4,400 new teachers were accepted to the Corps.
There are currently 292 CMs and 47 partnering districts in the Mississippi Delta.


I won’t put a ton of detail in this, but last night I read a favorite story book from my childhood to my two little cousins, Babar the Elephant. After reading it, I decided I will not read those books to my class or own children, and when I choose story books I’m going to find the most diverse, politically correct things I can find. If anything I’m reading doesn’t meet that criteria, we’ll surely talk about what’s left to be desired.

2 Responses

  1. Emily

    Caroline–best as you prepare for the corps! I’m doing the same, and fingerprinting is on Monday’s agenda. I wanted to recommend as a possible resource for you. I haven’t had extensive experience with it and don’t remember too many of the books reviewed, but its focus is morality in children’s literature. The FAQs address the special vocabulary used. One of the pre-readings also had some good ideas for books to discuss race with young children. Good luck! Love your determination.

  2. Caroline

    Thanks, Emily! I looked around– all of the books seem to have relatively poor scores, hah! But it’s a very interesting and relevant concept. I’m excited to start doing my own research & finding sources like this. What region are you in? & do you have one of these blogs?

    Definitely would love to read what you’re up to as well.

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