In my ongoing quest to take on every possible application process and look into every possible career choice for my future (that starts ever so soon), I’ve started looking into applying to Teach for America. If you don’t know, TFA is a non-profit organization that recruits and trains recent college grads to commit to teaching for two years in urban and rural schools in low socio-economic areas in an attempt to close the achievement gap in America. I’ve heard about it a lot, obivously as I took Politics of Education this summer, and it’s always sounded intriguing, but it’s been sounding even more intriguing after my (disenchanting) stint in the LA entertainment biz.
My other plans also include applying to grad school for theater education, so this would obviously be an interesting step in the right direction. I mean, how hard could getting high schoolers to love drama be after teaching inner city kids to love 9th grade English? That’s what I thought.
The upsides of doing this include having a guaranteed, decently paying job for two years. I would have an instant network of friends and collegues wherever they sent me. I’d have an amazing, life-changing experience (if everything touted on the TFA website and in the informational meeting I just attended is true), and would gain valuble experience that would be more than a little useful to WHATEVER I choose to do afterwards. They have an amazing alumni network and various partnerships with businesses and grad schools to take advantage of, as well.
The various downsides include, IT’S SO HARD (this sounds stupid, but really…it’s a freakin’ hard job.) I can only imagine how draining and difficult this job can be. I mean, I got stressed teaching drama at camp to middle-class Jewish kids. This would be a thousand times harder. Plus, there is the whole moving wherever they tell you to move thing (although, they tell you before you have to make a decision AND you get to rank where you’d want to be placed and they have a 98% rate of sending people to an area they requested.)
I know I would be a good teacher under normal teacher circumstances, but I honestly fear I would buckle under this stress. I mean, this semester already gave me a cold. But I know, I KNOW, that at the end of this experience, I would feel amazing. I truly want a job where I am doing something and accomplishing something (see my rant about why I disliked one of my internships in LA). To be able to make even the tiniest impact on these kids lives would be unbelievably fulfilling.
Lastly, isn’t this the time to do something big? Something crazy? Something you can’t do during any other time in your life? As much as I want to go to grad school for Theater Ed, I don’t know if I can jump right back into school, and there is no job that seems appealing to me right now. I’ve looked. I can’t stick myself in an office again, I just can’t. This would be an amazing experience. A hard experience, but an experience none the less.
My basic plan for all of these things is to apply for many things and see what sticks. TFA has a deadline in January, which is also when the deadlines for grad school are, so January will be the “I’m unemplyed and applying to EVERYTHING” month. Fun times are clearly in my future.
So have any of you ever thought of applying to TFA? Know anyone who has?