So I feel as though I should mention here that I just found out that I’ll be doing Teach for America next year in South Louisiana. Hopefully (Insuh allah) I’ll be in the city of Baton Rouge with my brother Kris, Ellen and Eliza!! It will be great to be near them. But Teach for America is really going to be hard.
You see I first applied for Teach for America last year. I began the application after I had finished my Fulbright application, but before I knew that I was going to get it. However, when the final interview for TfA came around, I already knew that I had gotten the Fulbright and was going to be in Indonesia the next year. My friends, parents and mentors all told me to finish off the application because it’s always good to have another job waiting for me after Fulbright. Due in large part to my relaxed demeanor at my final interview, and the fact that I’m a mathematics major, I secured a spot on the 2009 Teach for America Corps! It was very exciting for me to have been accepted into a movement that does so much good and is so competitive.
I was originally placed in Baltimore in the 2009 Corps. I had put Baltimore down as a top choice for placement because it is near my brother John and his wife Karen. Not to mention I would get to see my two nieces grow up. It really seemed like a good place for me.
But when I got my assignment to teach in Baltimore, Baltimore seemed like a lot more than just a city close to my brother and his family. It’s big, and a pretty scary place for a girl who’s never spent more than a weekend there. I knew from Sociology class that Baltimore has the highest murder rate for any city in the U.S. That fact, which was just a curious fact when I was in Sociology class, seemed very real and scary when I realized I would be living and teaching in this rough city. But then, someone’s got to do it. And would I be that bad at it? Would the students listen to me? Most of the time - no. The trick is to not take it personally. At least that’s what they tell me.
Well, I’ve never been good at not taking it personally. Ask any of the orchestra conductors for whom I sat first chair cello. I seemed to take every comment directed towards the section very personally; assuring them that I had not held that G out too long, I had been certain to keep it short. So, maybe I couldn’t do it. Maybe I can’t do it. My opportunity to test myself has been delayed however, for another year and another place – South Louisiana.
So I wrote to Teach for America last year upon my acceptance to request a deferral. They granted me a deferral after I wrote a persuasive essay convincing them that a Fulbright was an adequate enough reason to defer Teach for America. It was then that they told me that I would not have to apply again, but that I would have to resubmit my list of preferred cities.
That is how I came to be reassigned to South Louisiana. I did not put South Louisiana first in my choices, in fact it was third. I put Atlanta first, Philadelphia second, and South Louisiana third along with about 3 other cities that I know can’t remember. So, I really wanted to be in Atlanta, with so many of my wonderful friends from college – Erica, Mira, Cara, Trica, and maybe Maya and Allison if they are still going to be there. I love Philadelphia, and still want to live there again someday. But Teach for America did say that they really need teachers in South Louisiana. I guess I’m needed more in South Louisiana. I just hope this all works out for the best.
I would be lying if I said I was not sad that I won’t be in Atlanta. Living here in Indonesia has really made me miss the city, and I find myself daydreaming about walking around the streets of Decatur and buying candy from Greene’s. But something tells me that I will fit in to Baton Rouge soon, and living near my brother Kris, some of my family, might be just what I need right now. It might be what both of us need. I know he wishes he was closer to family, and I think I miss it more than I’d like to admit.
Here’s to the Red Stick!!