As I said in my last post, I wanted to share my journey with why Teach For America, while a good opportunity and a wonderful organization, was not the best fit for me. It was not something great for me, rather just an almost but not quite right opportunity.
Dad mentioned to me the possibility of looking into this when I was home back in October. I had gone home for my cousin’s wedding and we were sitting around a fire talking. He mentioned that he had come across this organization and told me to look into it. It sounded right up my ally so I took a shot and started to apply. Not even two days later, someone reached out to me to answer any questions.
As I was talking to her I was overwhelmed with a sense of excitement and “THIS IS IT.” I loved what the organization stood for and wanted to get involved. Education is a passion of mine and it’s what I went to school for. I went to help every student to know their worth and provide the best education to each student regardless of what social class or town they are born in. I remember having tears coming to my eyes as she was talking to me about it.
I decided to continue the process. I was selected to have an interview. I completed the next steps and took a trip to Richmond to have an interview. I created a lesson plan and presented it to the group, met with the recruiter and had mixed feelings. As excited as I was, I felt like I was somewhat out of place. I was interviewing with a bunch of seniors in college, I finished undergrad in December 2009. The woman I spoke to reassured me and said that there are other people my age who have made a change in their career or decided to pursue teaching.
I thought about it and was like alright this sounds good still. I already have my teaching license so this should be a great fit. I don’t need to worry about some of the things that these other people would if I was chosen. Low and behold, I was selected to join the Corps, as it’s called. I was ecstatic. I was like, this is a sign, this is it. I thought, this is the thing that is going to get me to Washington, D.C. They have placements there and that’s where I want to be.
More flags came up, making me question this. I had to put in my top choices. Obviously, I had put Washington, D.C. at the top of my list. While I was open to other possibilities, I really felt like the Lord was calling me to D.C. The woman I spoke to, shot my dreams down hard. She told me that’s the most requested place and it’s not possible. She told me it was a pipe dream. So I talked through some other options and second best places. Nothing else felt right. So I put down choices because I had to. I kept praying and believing that the Lord would work it out to have D.C. open if this was supposed to be it but pray that he would make it clear if I was supposed to somewhere else. I was trying to follow Jesus and where he was directing me. I didn’t want to be anywhere outside that.
I waited for a few days for the notification of where I would be placed for the next two years. I was anxious for a few days. I got my results back and they were for Baltimore to teach English. I was heartbroken. I was honestly somewhat insulted. I had told them that I already had my license in social studies, had the missed that. I had to put a second choice down so I had put down English but that doesn’t make any sense. I honestly thought I had completely missed something, as I thought that everything had fallen into place.
The guy from Teach For America Baltimore called me. I expressed my hesitation to me. He tried to convince me. We can update your placement to social studies. You’re close to D.C and you can go visit it on the weekends. It’s cheaper to live here and less crowded. It’s almost where you wanted. It’s pretty close to it. And that struck me. It was almost but not quite. It was my second choice for location and subject. Yea it seemed ok, as I would be teaching and making a difference and close to home and where I was trying to get to but it wasn’t quite it.
It didn’t sit right with me. It felt off. This was all plan B and not my first choice or what I wanted. It wasn’t my goal. I wasn’t going to leave where I was with a good job and life for something that was almost but not quite. This was not the leap of faith that I was supposed to take. This was turning into me settling for something that would have been good but not great. It wasn’t where I was supposed to go next. I was going to have to go without pay for 2 months, live in a dorm, figure out what to do with my animals, figure out how to pay my bills, including insurance, figure out where to move, etc.
While I know that the Lord could and would provide, if it was something I was supposed to do. It wasn’t the right fit. Yet I told them yes. I kept it on the back burner. It was my plan B. I wasn’t trusting the Lord for a while because I wouldn’t let it go. I had a couple more conversations with the people from the organization. More flags came up. They hadn’t changed my subject preference, there was a budget crisis and I kept missing deadlines. After months of quite honestly being disobedient and holding on to something that was almost but not quite, I finally told them no. I finally let it go. I didn’t defer to the next year. I just told them, it wasn’t right for me.
If I knew that I wanted to be in a high needs area, and I already have my license and my master’s degree, why would I not look for job opportunities myself? Why would I not look in the area that I wanted to? I knew it was just a reminder from the Lord to trust him and to not settle for good when he has the best for me. While something may look good and be almost, it’s better to wait for the exact right thing that he has for you. And if you are seeking to be in his will, he will make it evident the direction you are to go.
He had blessed me so much in the months since I made the choice to turn down this opportunity. For me it was good but not great. For someone else, this is a great opportunity. I still love what the organization stands for and think it’s great for someone fresh out of college, or someone who isn’t already licensed and making a career change. They will help you to get your master’s and help you to get your license. So I definitely recommend it for someone like that but it wasn’t the right fit for me and that’s fine. God was up to something the whole time and he has not left me disappointed or feeling like I missed out on something.
God is always up to something, and this experience taught me a lot about myself and the direction that I want to be going.
Shalom my friends!