Hey there. I know you’ve all missed my gorgeous face.
(From my 4.341 project last fall.)
All right, maybe “gorgeous” is a bit of a stretch.
I’ve been floating around this school for the last couple of months doing student-type things (going to classes, sleeping very little, forgetting to wipe the crusted drool off my face before going to classes) and doing me-type things (takin’ the pictures, rockin’ the radio, fallin’ down surprisingly few flights of stairs) – you know, the usual. I’d say you’ve been missing out, but I’m really not interesting enough for anyone to miss out on my daily nonantics.
Speaking of boring, I had a four-hour shift at Senior Haus Desk yesterday afternoon. (I kid, I kid. I love Senior Haus. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.) This stretch of time is perfect for when I need to get a solid amount of work done, even though it usually turns into a marathon Futurama-watching session. I’m using my IAP time to catch up on my nonrequired reading. Today’s read was One Day, All Children…, by Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America. The book goes through the process of developing the program, building and expanding it, and how to work in schools across America to change how children learn.
I applied to Teach for America in October, and I received the book as a gift from MIT’s TfA recruitment director after I made it to the final interview round. I find out whether or not I’ve been accepted on Thursday, and the rest of my life is mostly on hold until then. Hanna and Liz (both ’10s) want to know if I still want to live with them next year, but apartment-hunting is contingent upon my being in the Boston area after June. I don’t know where I’ll be living. I don’t know what I’ll be doing. I hate answering questions from my friends and family about this. Let me pass on that message to all friends and relatives of current college seniors: We hate it when you ask us about these things.
This is really not the best way to go about planning for the future. I have, however, pre-registered for the spring semester, which is really as far ahead as I’m comfortable thinking about right now. (Don’t be surprised. I just said I’m afraid of life way up at the top of this post.)
Anyway, a long-ish time ago in a land far-ish away, I went to high school in a low-income area of Fort Lauderdale with a magnet program, and the extreme disparity between the quality of education in the magnet and the mainstream classes was one of the more disturbing things I’ve experienced. My AP Physics class shared a classroom with a remedial reading class; the reading class had the room for the period before AP Physics, and the materials left in the classroom and written on the board revealed that the teacher could barely spell basic words correctly. In some of the larger, more basic math classes, students who could have done well in a more challenging course were barely noticed while the teachers tried to work with students who were even farther behind.
I’ve had a multitude of amazing opportunities at MIT, and I’ve heard from a person or two that this college ain’t half bad. (Am I right?) But every time I think about the last four years, I also think about how the people I knew (and the thousands more I don’t know) who had the potential to have their own college experience but weren’t able to overcome the odds against them, and that’s really not acceptable. I want to see students succeed even after years of being told that they can’t, and I want to help make that happen. Sure, that’s idealistic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Here’s the thing, though: I’m scared. I’m terrified that I’ll fail. I’ve tried to do things and failed at them before – take, for example, everything related to 18.02 ever – but if I fail at something like this, I’m not the only one who has to deal with the consequences. That feeling of responsibility for someone else’s future only makes everything even more terrifying. And if this doesn’t work out, then what happens? This is something I care about a lot and really want to do with my life, and when I try to think of my future in a way that doesn’t involve teaching, it’s one scary-looking blank.
I am (understandably?) a little jealous when I think about my friends who know what they want to do with their lives and are already doing it, as opposed to sitting around in the overly neurotic state of limbo that has been my last two months.
I realize that I haven’t written about any of this yet; my last post is from the day before I submitted my Teach for America application. TfA isn’t the only path towards becoming a teacher, but it’s a program that shares many of the same ideas and ambitions that I have. I’m worried that I won’t be accepted, and I’ve been afraid of putting myself out there on the blogs because of the possible letdown. That’s not fair to all of you for quite a few reasons, one of which is summed up in some faux-sage advice in the wrapper of a Dove chocolate I ate a few months ago:
At the time, I thought the answer was bacon. (I’m only half-joking.) But it’s not. It’s really not.
(That said, bacon’s still absolutely delicious.)