This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Teach For America. All opinions are 100% mine.
It’s weird how much we underestimate our ability to adapt. Before I graduated, I was convinced that it would be SO weird to transition to being a working girl. I thought I’d feel so out of place without the routines of classes and homework. I couldn’t imagine how weird it would feel to come home from work and not have any homework, or to have my weekends be completely free.
As much as I thought I’d have trouble adapting, I can tell you I don’t miss homework or classes one bit. Two months after graduating, my new routine of work feels totally normal. Minus the whole not-seeing-my-friends thing. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay with that.
Even though I’m not missing school too much, being a “real adult” has definitely caused me to reminisce a little on all of the teachers that made me a functioning member of society, able to spell and balance a checkbook.
I was blessed to have amazing teachers throughout my academic career, but junior high was a time in my life where I was really blessed with some great teachers, notably Mrs. J and Mr. W.
Both of these teachers had such a love for their subjects and for kids. Mrs. J., my 8th grade English teacher was – and still is – an avid reader and learner. Her passion showed in the classroom, where she treated us not like kids but young scholars as we perused Greek mythology, Holocaust lit, and learned how to write a 5-paragraph essay.
Mrs. J made hard concepts and difficult life truths approachable and fun. I remember hiding under chairs in our classroom for 45 minutes one day to reimagine what it would have been like for Anne Frank to live in the Annex, or writing a narrative with a partner to learn how to write creatively in first-person (I still have a copy of Operation Annihilation, our spy thriller, if anyone would like to enjoy my brief foray into novella-writing).
Mr. W, my 6th grade history teacher, had a way of connecting with kids that was unparalleled by any educator I have ever met. From playing Weird Al Yankovic as we filed into the classroom to set the mood, to filling his room with his silly hat collection, free for wear during classes, Mr. W engaged every student and made them feel special.
During junior high, Mr. W was a mentor as I competed in History Day, a nationwide competition. He went above and beyond to help me with my project, spending hours helping me find the perfect movie clip of Cleopatra for my documentary or editing my script. He often went above and beyond for his students, and was a huge mentor for my younger sister as well.
Both of these teachers have become to me much more than simply educators. They are now lifelong friends. Mrs. J. and I try to grab lunch occasionally, and Mr. W was even at my engagement party. They have repeatedly inspired me and encouraged me to grow both academically and personally, and I am forever grateful for their tutelage.
This all being said, I am a huge proponent of teaching as a career. My sister is going into teaching, and I couldn’t be more proud. Teachers have the opportunity to impact students in unimaginably important ways, and to change the trajectory of their lives.
That’s why I am also a fan of Teach For America. I have two friends working with TFA after they graduate this spring and I am so excited for them.
Why teach with Teach For America? Teach For America works to ensure that all kids growing up get an excellent education, full of opportunities, regardless of their zip code. They find, train, and place outstanding leaders from all career backgrounds and majors as teachers in 52 regions around the country. Many of their alumni hold distinguished leadership roles across fields and continue to inspire and advocate for children. TFA teachers receive outstanding training inside and outside the classroom to prepare them to help their classes succeed. For over 25 years, Teach For America alumni have led more than 1,000 schools and school systems. TFA teachers and alumni reach more than 5 million children each day!
If you want to learn more about teaching with TFA, check out the video below! Did you ever have a teacher that inspired you or made you fall in love with teaching? Send them a letter or an email (or write them a blog post!) and give them some love!