- 4 years ago
I am in a huge dilemma. I was accepted into Teach for America- Metro Atlanta, and am scheduled to begin institute tomorrow. I have to let them know TODAY whether or not I will be going or resigning from the program.
My situation: I was accepted in November to join the 2013 Corps- mainly attracted to it because it was a guaranteed job in a struggling economy, I have wanted to be a teacher as long as I can remember, but my parents persuaded me to pursue pre-law instead (something I have long regretted) and I want to make a difference for kids.
After being accepted, several conflicts came up, and my support staff was of NO help whatsoever. (Would not return emails, phone calls, give me straight answers etc.) It all came down to taking a test to become certified to teach in two subjects- elementary was my primary placement, so I took and passed those tests with flying colors, but I was also expected to take a secondary subject as well to teach at the high school level. You have to take these paper-pencil tests in person in Georgia (I am from another state), and they’re only offered like 5 times a year. I posted about this previously, but the test dates after that first one conflicted with an international work trip, my college graduation and my good friend’s wedding that I am a BM in. I recognized these conflicts immediately when I saw the schedule, but the staff was of no help at all. They suggested I “prioritize” and miss one of these things, lie about my religious beliefs to test on a Sunday instead of a Saturday, etc. if I wanted to get a job. I was told FOUR DAYS AGO THAT there are only 10 jobs in my original elementary placement this year. Because there are sooo many of us, I must take a secondary test to essentially get a job.
Besides all of this, my personal situation is not that of a typical Corps member. I am getting married in September (so planning my own wedding), in addition to having commitments to friends’ weddings literally every weekend this summer. Thus, if I were to attend institute (a grueling 5-week “boot camp”) I’d be traveling out of state every weekend and literally not have any time to rest or finish work. In addition, my FI is military, and he is stationed two hours away from any of the schools I’d be potentially given a job at. We’d live in the middle, giving us each an hour + commute to and from work every single day. Not ideal for sure.
Finally, I have heard the first two years of being a teacher (especially TFA) are the most difficult, and we will be experiencing our first two years of marriage during this time. I feel we’d barely see each other with the commute, and I’d probably miss most of his military events as well. We are lucky he won’t be transferring posts during this time, but it’s still a huge commitment. I will be teaching in an urban high school where gang violence, assaults, etc. in schools are the norm. (I should point out I am a 23-year-old-white female with no teaching experience). The TFA teachers I have talked to in Atlanta seem very jaded- they’ve had cars bashed in, some quit during the first semester etc.
However, if I give up this opportunity, I am giving up a guaranteed job/salary that is relatively near my future husband’s post. I want to teach regardless, so I can pursue graduate school, but it would be purely on student loans which we’d have to completely repay ourselves.
Also, I know this program is very selective, and being in it does look good on a resume later. I can choose to go through Institute (summer training) only being certified in elementary, but I more than likely will not get a job, so I’d be putting myself through 5 weeks of hell for no reason. I do earn “graduate credits” during the summer at no cost, but am not sure if they will transfer to my future grad school program if I decide to resign from TFA as nobody will give me a straight answer on this.
Thoughts needed and appreciated!