Friday, November 14, 2008

Is our children learning?

Yesterday I found out I made it through the first round of applicants for Teach for America. My phone interview is tomorrow night at 8:30.

Honestly, I didn't think I'd make it through. The program is selective and a lot of the applicants come from Ivies. I don't know if my essay and personal statement were all that good. I'd waffled for a while about whether or not to apply, and I wound up submitting the morning of the deadline.

I'm trying to think like an economist (thanks, Jim). There are benefits: I'll have a job with health insurance. I'll get to work with students directly. I'm convinced that good schools positively impact the surrounding community. It's like my work with Zienzele - it's not going to fix the system, but it could help the person who will.

There are costs, too, but they don't seem as tangible. Like it or not, I will be a young, white, privileged college graduate traipsing into a situation I neither know nor understand. No wonder there are reports of resentment among existing faculty. I don't want to be Princess Whitey rescuing poor brown children. After two years, I'm out of there - on to bigger and better things. Is there something wrong with that? And would my talents be put to better use trying to fix the system?

Okay, so that last bit was more anthropologist than economist. I'll keep thinking about it, and tomorrow I'll try to bring it up with my interviewer.