Everything I Know I Learned in Pre-K

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 30 2012

Down, but not Out (Yet…)

Well, it’s been almost two months now that I have been jobless and let me tell you, it does not feel like a vacation.

I work a variety of odd jobs- I set up the new e-mail system for my synagogue, I babysit, and I tutor. The only thing that’s even remotely regular is the tutoring, but in about two week’s time, that will be done too, and I will be back to twiddling my thumbs. I did substitute once, at my old elementary school, which was pretty amazing. It was my first time working in first grade and I loved it.

TFA asked me to refrain from applying to any jobs during the first month, because they were looking for immediate opportunities for me within their partner schools. When that didn’t pan out, they reluctantly agreed to two things I’d been pushing the whole time: to look for positions for me that start in August/September, and that I could find an interim position for myself. I have had a few interviews sent my way by TFA, but not many. The initial three were the largest single grouping certainly. Last Thursday when I woke up I had an e-mail from TFA letting me know I would be hearing from a school. Within about 10 minutes, I had an e-mail from the school and had set up a phone interview for about an hour later. By the early afternoon, I was at the school for an in-person interview, and the next day I went in to do a demo lesson. It seemed promising, but alas it was not to be. I’ve had one short phone interview since then.

This week, I took a few hours on Monday and Tuesday to apply for a number of jobs- mostly interim teaching positions, substitute positions, and summer positions (summer school teaching, summer camps, etc…). I also applied for a few non-teaching jobs, but I think at the moment it’s important for me to stay positive, and in the classroom, if possible. Well I’ve already heard back from a number of the places I applied to, which is exciting. It does however vex me when I then think about TFA. If I’ve already lined up a number of interviews (I had one today) without any of TFA’s help or pull convincing schools to call me, then what are they doing?

We’ve now also reached the point where I begin to worry: the 2012 Corps is officially in-process in full force. Only one more group will be accepted, which means that the Placement Team is now looking for jobs for (probably) almost 200 people. I have heard that about 70 2012 CMs already have jobs. So, not to be selfish, but what about me?! I feel that as a 2011 CM who has not had the best of experiences with the Placement Team to date, there should be at least a little bit of focus on getting me a new placement, some kind of flag that puts me at the front of the line. In fact, I now no longer recieve regular communication from the Placement Team or anyone else at TFA. My e-mails to my M,TLD and to the Placement Team are met with automated responses (or regular responses) that sing to the tune of: “I/We will get back to you ASAP, but not this week, because I/we am/are working with 2012 CMs preparing them for interviews and demo lessons.” So, like I said before, what about me!?

I am, 99% of the time, a team player. However, this is the real world and I am not on a team in the way a soccer player is on a team. Instead, I am on a team like a swimmer is on a team. Sure, I want the rest of the team to do well, but mostly it only matters how well I do. If I don’t get a new placement, I don’t really care that 250 or 350 other people got placements. How can I care, let alone be excited, when I don’t have a job?

5 Responses

  1. CY

    Just curious, are you getting placement funds or are you having to use these odd jobs to make up your income?

    • I am not getting any money, especially not from TFA. Any income I have right now is generated from my odd jobs. :(

  2. Wow, I’d probably be going crazy after two months without a job. =[ On the other hand, now you have time to check things off your reading list or bucket list, which sounds like an absolutely luxury at this point..

    I wish you could come up to RI–our placement team (aka our three MTLDs) are fantastic.

  3. els

    Man, that really sucks. I don’t know what I’d do. I think TFA should let you out; they’ve really failed you in every way.

  4. This really speaks to how different TFA is region-to-region. I know I was worried at the beginning of the year because the Milwaukee team was sending interviews to 2010 CMs and not me. But, in retrospect, it makes sense that the organization should place its experienced CMs (no matter how little experience) before its incoming CMs. What an ordeal! I also am upset that they aren’t providing you any funds!

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