I debated posting this since many of the people that read this only know very small parts of my life.
However, in order to keep this blog an authentic account of the life of a first year TFA corps member, it’s important to talk about what happens when we’re not in the classroom.
Today was our first real day of grad classes at Pace. (By the end of my 2 years teaching I will have my master’s in Special Education.)
Our classes were actually meaningful and I left with so many strategies that I can take to my classroom on Monday to help me understand and be patient with my students.
What was even more useful was reconnecting with the people who are in the same boat as me - teaching violent kids in a room where they’re unsupported in a system that is failing both them and their students. We’re underappreciated and overwhelmed and working 70 – 80 hours a week to try to make the impact we came here to make, and at the end of the day we crawl in to bed exhausted, sometimes inspired, and many times asking ourselves how we can live like this for 2 years.
We came here from separate lives - colleges where we excelled and friends who knew us inside and out, families that loved us, relationships we’d been in for years and futures that seemed to be falling in to place. We came here for a cause – because we believe in “the movement” and wanted to do something for the kids in this country.
Little did we know how much it would cost. It’s hard to start over in a city of this size. You can go for days, sometimes weeks, without seeing familiar faces. People that can see in your eyes when you’ve had a bad day are half way across the country and relationships that lasted years (including mine) don’t make it through the stress and distance and long work weeks. Lives are changing and while friendships are being formed the most tangible thing we have left at the end of the day is this….cause.
It’s not even that we don’t believe in it…we do…but the connections that made us us are gone and we’re not the same people that interviewed for this a year ago.
We’re first year teachers in survival mode trying to make it in this city where real connections are few and far between and we’re slowly realizing that this is not just a 2 year commitment. We’ve committed to live different lives and it’s too late to turn back.
I think they’ve raised the price of dreams.