Part of TFA's recruitment strategy this year is having current corps members replace their myspace and facebook pictures with a banner linking to the TFA website that says, "2 years from now you won't recognize yourself."
Clever, but kind of scary.
We arrived at institute these idealistic people who couldn't wait to spend the next 2 years saving the world. Now so many of us are burnt out, overworked, discouraged, and in bad need of a hair cut, but who has time when you work 70 hour weeks?
We see each other on the train and in the gym and many times the conversation consists of a weak smile and hope that eventually life will get better than this.
It will...at least that's what we're counting on.
Someone asked me today if I would recommend TFA to upcoming graduates.
It's not about recommending. It's an incredible organization that has the potential to change education in this country. It's about coming prepared to give yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Before your jump at the thought of changing the world, know that it is not easy and that never, not even on good days, have I felt like I'm saving the world (because we're really not - we're first year teachers trying to survive). They say that to you all the time. They prep you for this to be the biggest challenge you will ever face, but there's lots that doesn't get said even in the 17 hour days of institute.
I wish someone would have told me I would have fights in my room almost everyday, and that there would be no where to send kids after (or during) their outbursts/meltdowns, because there's really no one in the school that can manage them.
I wish someone would have told me that violence is the culture of my school, and that eventually I would become numb to it just like my students have, and that this numbness would leave me questioning who I am and why I chose this as my profession.
I wish someone would have told me that I would think about quitting at least 2 times a week.
I wish that someone would have told me that idealism is not what gets you through this. The big picture is sometimes only seen at the end and on many days the only thing that gets me up in the morning is knowing there are only 2 more days until Friday.
Instead, they told me that at the end of the day, I wouldn't be able to imagine my life without these kids and what do you know...they were right...so maybe at the end of 2 years we won't recognize ourselves....
Hopefully we figure out how to squeeze in time for haircuts.