Well, it’s been awhile since my last update, and, to be honest, it’s probably going to be even longer until my next one. I am writing this from the air, and it’s probably the first time I have truly had some downtime in the last week.
Last Tuesday my journey as a Teach For America corps member began. I spent the week in Jacksonville getting to know my future home and fellow corps members. I’ll be completely honest, after getting lost downtown a few times, I am looking at myself with very critical eyes wondering why the HECK I thought it was a good idea to pick the largest city in the continental US (in square mileage) to move to. Although I have my doubts about my sense of direction and how long it is going to take me to learn to navigate around town, it only took one view of the St. Johns River to know that I could definitely feel at home there.
It was a long week of learning more about the cause and the achievement gap and why the work we would be doing is relevant in the city of Jacksonville. We heard many success stories and had the opportunity to speak with some of the students who are a testament to them. After one video about a 3rd grade student there was barely a dry eye in the room. I must admit I am very excited to see the difference I am going to make in the lives of students in Jacksonville and this summer in Houston.
For the next five weeks, it’s TFA “boot camp” as they like to call it. I couldn’t be more anxious about what’s to come; especially after finding out this morning I am going to be teaching middle school and not elementary during summer school. It took me a few minutes to even remember what you learn during those three years, except, as one of my fellow corps members pointed out, the existence of the opposite sex. If my cousin, a recent graduate of 8th grade is any indication, I should expect a high level of criticism on my attire. I’m sure she would love nothing more than to watch me try to control a room full of her peers. The thought alone makes me want to laugh and cry all at once. Hopefully, she has a little faith in me. I should probably call her for some advice. I can hear the laughter now.
But, for now, I am soaring through the skies, oil-ruined water below me, sleeping corps members all around and all I can feel is a sense of complete anticipation for what’s to come. I know that there are hundreds of other people just like me who are about to encounter the same obstacle. I can honestly say I have never bonded with so many people in such a short amount of time, and I am beyond excited to lean on them for strength and laughter in this crazy, whirlwind adventure. I know the next five weeks are going to be the hardest I have ever lived through, but I also know that if I can survive it, I can survive anything this world throws at me (because at least most other things allow for some time for sleeping…).