Ever since I became a teacher, I’ve started answering a lot of questions. My students ask me questions about my math objectives, my friends ask me questions about my social life, and my family asks me questions about my well-being. But on Wednesday night, at a dinner with TFA donors, I was asked a question I wasn’t fully prepared to answer: “At school, do you ever feel afraid?”
Yes, I’m afraid. But the real question is: of what?
I’m afraid of failing my students. I’m afraid of failing to prepare them for mathematical success, both in future classes and on the EOI. I’m afraid of wasting a day with a failed lesson plan, of losing time. I’m afraid of making an offhand remark that shatters a student’s confidence. I’m afraid of failing to enable them to reach their potential, to become brilliant & capable adults.
Never once have I feared for my safety at school or the safety of the students in my classroom.
The TFA community is broader and more diverse than we often realize, composed of corps members, staff members, alumni, students, parents, other teachers, other schools, political figures, nonprofit organizations, and so much more. We are all united by a common goal: empowering our students to succeed, at both a daily level and a systemic level.
Being asked about fearing for my safety reminded me that, while we’re all united under a common goal, each of our perspectives is limited. As a TFA corps member, I am lucky to have a foot in “both worlds,” to shed a light into what my school really looks like.
I believe there is so much potential in the breadth of this community of people who care — so much potential to make long-lasting changes in all parts of OKC. I’d love to start uniting members of the greater community with students in my classroom — particularly because many of our donors live near my school.
Now, my question is this: where to begin?