November 10, 2009 I was working at an Elementary school for Blueprint College, an early college access program through The Ohio State University, which prepares Elementary & Middle school students and parents for college. I was anxious the whole evening because tonight was the night. Tonight was THEE NIGHT I had been waiting for! Every since I was in elementary school my parents told me that I had to go to college. Now as a senior in college, I feel like I am ending what I have been working towards my entire life. Now what?
I wanted to join Teach for America because I wanted to help more children graduate from high school, attend college and take full advantage of all educational opportunities and experiences available to them. In high school I was in an organization called the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN). The goal of MSAN was to serve as a support group for minority students in AP (advanced-placement/honors) classes. We had study sessions, and ice cream socials, but the moment that really changed my life (not to sound dramatic lol) was when Dr. Donna Ford from Vanderbilt University came to speak at Cleveland Heights High School. I had heard of the achievement gap, and I saw first hand in my classes that I was the majority in the hallways, but the minority in the classroom. Yet, I didn’t know how bad it really was. Dr. Ford had haunting statistics that showed the drastic difference between lower income communities and higher income communities, as well as parents with degrees and the amount of books in the home versus other homes with parents without degrees. I couldn’t believe my ears. I wanted to do something.
I already wanted to teach, but when I heard about Teach for America it was like there was this organization created just for me. Teach For America’s mission aligned perfectly with my mission. I applied to Teach for America during the very first deadline, August 2009. I had my interview in October, and I was waiting on November 10th.
My number one choice for a region was Washington, D.C. I envisioned myself graduating from OSU, taking a week off (since DC institute is later in June) and then teaching in D.C. I had everything planned out. Michelle Obama would visit my classroom one day—the works! As I stated before, I was at a program at a middle school awaiting my fate…TFA said we wouldn’t hear from them until 8 p.m. However, around 6 p.m. my soror Keona called me super excited asking did I get in because our friend Jerrod already checked and he got into Atlanta. I had no idea we would hear so early! I checked my gmail on my phone and I had gotten into Teach for America, (PRAISE GOD!) but I didn’t know where. Luckily, the school had computers so I logged onto the TFA website and it said, “Thank you for committing to join Teach For America. You have been assigned to teach elementary school (grades PreK-6) in Houston.”
WOW! Wait! What?! Elementary! Thank God! Houston! WHAT?! I was supposed to teach in D.C. I was in shock, but don’t get me wrong, I was still overjoyed! But I had made up my mind that they would send me to my first choice. Houston was my second choice. Not to mention I graduate from Ohio State on June 13, 2010 and induction in Houston is June 10-13, with institute starting on June 13. UGH. I was surprised to say the least, but I am very happy with my placement.
Like I said before, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this my entire life. People say go to college and then what?! I will be teaching Elementary School in Houston, Texas. I have never been to Houston, Texas.
I’m terrified, I’m excited, I’m blessed, I’m thankful. I’m ready!