Thursday, December 6, 2007

Preparing to be a Teacher

The following is the first in a series by Inspired Teaching Program Intern Michelle Costa. Michelle will graduate from George Washington University this spring and start a teaching position in New York City next fall with Teach for America.

Over the next few months she will share stories about her preparation to become an educator. At Inspired Teaching Michelle helps us to prepare workshops for teachers. Michelle’s learning experiences here are getting her ready for the exciting journey ahead.

As I anxiously waited for the phone call from a Teach For America representative all I could think about was how much I wanted to teach. Before joining Center for Inspired Teaching as a Program Intern, I worked as a Campus Campaign Manager with Teach For America. It was my job to convince graduating seniors to dedicate two years to teaching in a low-income school. After meeting countless Teach For America corps members, the reason seemed simple- a teacher can make a difference in the lives of students. Each day I was further inspired by the tales of overcoming obstacles, pushing the limits, and helping students to reach their full potential.

Now that I know I was accepted into the 2008 corps of Teach For America, I am beginning to really think about and question what I will be doing. I have listened to the stories of so many successful teachers, but can I do what they had done? Will I be able to give my students the opportunity to succeed? Can I help my students to make the gains necessary to bring them to the same level as their higher-income peers?

In my Teach For America acceptance packet there was a letter:

Edwin Lopez Oct 19, 2007

To the future teacher,

I suggest you teach in NYC. It’s the best place in America. It pays more. The schools are bigger, and it’s cleaner. They give you all the stuff you need. The schools are in good condition.

Tears began to well up in my eyes as I read this letter. I walked into the common room of my apartment where my four roommates were sitting, watching TV, and I showed it to each of them. I told them this is why I am going to be a teacher.

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