Facing La Frontera

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 02 2012

Where to Begin….



I’m 5 work days into my new job. The thoughts have been building up, so it’s time to let them loose.


I’m finished with my two years. For people who don’t really understand how TFA works, they think that means that I no longer work for TFA. Pues, I never “worked for them” in a boss/employee sense. I was always hired by my school and affiliated/trained in conjunction with TFA. So now I am a TFA alumni, and when I meet all these “fresh out of college” faces, I am a little annoyed that I probably looked that eager and niave only two years ago.

Where am I now?  I am now a YES! Prep Public Schools employee. Still teaching 7th grade ELA, which was what I wanted.

Why am I still blogging? I like to have a written release of my emotions towards my job, I’m still teaching, and I don’t really care to write (much) about the other aspects of my life. So this blog still correlates with its original purpose.


I am working at a campus that was ranked in the top 25 of charter schools. Let’s talk about this for a minute. This rating had 112 charter schools in it. That’s not nearly all of them. In fact, only one IDEA campus was on there (and I think there were 9 total?). Only 2 YES Prep campuses were on there (currently at 11), but I don’t know where they drew the line of who made the cut or not. For Texas, we’re in the top 20 high schools in the state.


Now, some charter schools require applications, etc. Neither YES! Prep nor IDEA do. You just give us your name & address, and you get pulled out of a lottery. There are over 7,000 students on the waiting list. Ours also is in the top 20 in the state, competing against the top schools in Texas that enroll supposedly the “brightest” students. We are in competition with them. with a majority low-income population. which is pretty baller.


So when the President of YES! Prep says that we are an all-star team, I believe him. After meeting many of my new co-workers, I am simultaneously thrilled & nervous.  I am constantly reminded that while in the TFA world, 3 years is ancient, in the real world, I am still such a novice. These people are good. And they emphasize teamwork and humble leadership. (Don’t even get me started on the core values….I am drinking the Kool-aid!!!)  Where will my niche be? During training, they showed us a clip about powerful people. I believe it was something as follows. Someone close to JFK was worried he was stretching his Presidency too thin. She reminded him that “A great man is one sentence.”


“He preserved the union and freed the slaves.”

“He lifted us from the Great Depression and helped to win a WW.”


If you’re not sure who, look it up. But during training, we were pressed to consider our one sentence. What is our focus, what is our legacy?

Well, after spending almost an entire summer questioning my decision to further pursue teaching, I am finally able to have some peace in my heart. Without a doubt, my prayer to feel purposeful again has been answered. I have been wiped out every night this week. But it’s a good kind of tired. Because it’s a tired that comes from work that is literally changing the trajectory of peoples’ lives. Helping to send one student to college has the potential to change the economic future of an entire family. Not just that one student, but their entire family. It’s pretty incredible.


So, who knows where I will be in a few years. Let’s be honest, I unfortunately give away a little bit of my life each day to stressing over this question every time it pops up. But, regardless, every day here is affirming the decision I made. This isn’t just teaching or changing lives. This is changing the trajectory of a community.



Here’s my work-in-progress sentence:

Through reading and writing, I help students find their voices and change the trajectory of generations.


One Response

  1. I love both the sentence exercise and the sentiment that came of it. I’m glad things are picking up!

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