Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 09 2011


One year ago today, I said yes.  To TFA, that is.  And what a year it has been.  I already wrote a post about November 9, 2010, but I’ll copy-paste it here:

November 9th, 2010.

I had it colored in in pink in my planner, and I had written DAY OF RECKONING in huge letters all across it.  I got my shift covered that night, so that I could deal with whatever emotions I would have to deal with.

I had been edgy all week, and had had trouble sleeping pretty much since my final interview 3 weeks before.  I thought that my final interview had gone really well, but I had gotten to a point in my mind where I couldn’t believe it was possible for me to get in.

I had class from 8-10:45 and 11:30-2:15 that day, so I brought my laptop to school.  I was supposed to find out by 2 pm, but for all of the previous TFA notifications, I had gotten an email around 10 or 11 in the morning.  On my break in between classes, I took the elevator to the 5th floor of the Humanities Building, where my next class was.  I sat in my customary spot  on the floor in the hallway, got my laptop out of my backpack, and opened it.

I waited the seemingly endless five seconds it took to connect to the wireless internet, and checked my facebook, trying to calm myself down.  Didn’t help.  I screwed up my courage and clicked on the button on my “bookmarks bar” for gmail.  It took the century it always takes to load.

From Teach For America.  Subject line: Your Teach For America Application.  What is that supposed to mean?! Did they have a problem with my application?  Did I forget to put my middle initial or something somewhere, and did that disqualify me?!

I clicked on it, my heart pounding in my ears.  ”Dear Elsa,  I am pleased to extend you an offer to join the Teach For America 2011 Corps!”

That moment was the closest I’ve ever come to actually hyperventilating.  I slid down onto the floor, my head against the wall, and I just sat there for a second. I actually teared up.

After about 15 seconds, I sat back up, took a deep breath, and read the rest of the email.  Then I hit reload, just in case I was hallucinating.

I was at school, so I couldn’t call anyone, so the mass texting began.

To say that I couldn’t concentrate in my next class is a bit of an understatement.  I couldn’t even process it – I just started making lists in the margins of my notes.

Actually, it still hasn’t quite sunk in.  2 months later.  And I still have the email, starred in my inbox.


Exactly one year later, my life looks completely different.  I have my own house, and a roommate, and a big-girl job.  I have insurance, and I have 80 seventh-graders that call me their math teacher.  I don’t have the time to ruminate on it too much tonight, but needless to say my life looks different.

I like it though :).

2 Responses

  1. Keely

    I said yes to TFA two days ago. I’ll be teaching math in the Delta this time next year! Scary and wonderful! Reading your blog has been kind of… soothing? Encouraging? Something. Thanks!

  2. Kurt (Community Manager)

    Congratulations! Your post has been featured on the Teach For Us home page.

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Mississippi Delta
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November 2011
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the title

"If one desires to 'stir up the world,' it is easy to be impatient with work for the sake of work. Yet no story's end can forsake its beginning and its middle." -Joshua Wolf Shank on Abraham Lincoln