Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 12 2011

The school year ends in May.

My school year ends on June 1st, but because I teach sixth grade I stop officially teaching in May. We have promotion a few days before all the younger kids get out, then have work days until the school year comes to a close.

I love my job. I love working, but there is something infinitely more gratifying in completing applications than grading 120 quizzes, essays, or homeworks. So, instead of tackling that huge (and let me tell you it is huge) grading pile, I have been applying to post-TFA jobs. Before I list those experiences, I do need to preface by saying I love Dumas. I’m not kidding when I say that, at all. Right now the number one thing making me apply for any other job is the fear that all 7 of my TFA co-workers are going to leave. If we can get replaced by other TFA people, I can see an added need for me to stay (Who else would initiate them into Dumas culture?), but if Dumas doesn’t… well. For my mental health, I don’t know if I could stay alone.

Though no one has concrete plans yet, I’m covering my bases and have a goal to apply to at least eight jobs in the coming months. I’ve got three down so far:

  1. Invisible Children. I feel a little guilty applying to this organization. Weird, I know, but there is something so urgent about it that it feels too exclusive for me. The only credibility I think I have as an applicant is the fact that I’ve been (past tense?!) a TFA corps member. The immediacy and obsession with social justice are aligned. However, the people that work for them tend to be utterly obsessed with what is going on in Africa (as well they should be!) but it makes me feel totally out of the loop and unqualified to think about. I applied as a Production Manager for their permanent staff. I wasn’t even totally qualified for that, besides the lacking Africa knowledge. It was worth the time regardless.
  2. GOOD. Somehow I got linked back into GOOD a few weeks ago. I first met GOOD when it was a magazine and I was an excited graphic design student. I remember our design director pulling it out for her lesson on info graphics, and I was so proud of myself for already knowing exactly what it was, and loving it. I subscribed to a few of their RSS feeds (my favorite is obviously education), and applied as a Research & Editorial Assistant for their Special Projects department.
  3. Oak Park Prep, St HOPE School District. A few days ago I received an email from the founding principal of this school– a school that will be officially “founded” in the 2012-13 year. He is looking for a new, tiny staff of 7th grade teachers to begin the school. He offered to talk more about it on the phone, so we set up a meeting on Friday. We talked for about 25 minutes. I still don’t know how I feel about the conversation completely. I like his urgency and pace and what he wants to do, but he (like so many other higher ups, especially in TFA circumstances) seemed to lack a certain humor. I’m starting to learn what I’m looking for in introductions to companies and personalities, and ease of laughter is something I want. I can be serious, I can be urgent, and I sure as hell care about student achievement, but that doesn’t mean I won’t chuckle in my first phone interview. Which I haven’t had yet, this was informational, but I’m just sayin’. I emailed my formal teacher application today, and he already mentioned on the phone that he might come observe me in Dumas (omg, right?) as soon as the week after Thanksgiving.

So, for now, that’s three down and five to go.

2 Responses

  1. els

    one of my friends works for Invisible Children in San Diego and she LOVES it.

  2. Whoa, what a coincidence.. The New England Invisible Children roadies passed through Providence and I got to see them at both my church and my school. (It was my first exposure to both the organization and the issue they’re combating.) IC is awesome! Do it! =D

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