Embrace Nature

Embrace Nature

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Underconstrained System

I am now in the midst of deciding what to do with myself. I won't say I'm deciding what I'll be doing for the rest of my life (because that is impossible and simply untrue), but I will say that I am trying to figure out the path I'd like to take to get into the classroom, and possibly beyond.

I am exploring options at various universities, including UC Berkeley's MACSME program (Master of Arts and Certification in Science and Mathematics Education), Stanford's Teacher Education Program, University of Washington's Master in Teaching, Boise State University's Graduate Certificate in Secondary Ed.

And then there are the non-traditional options I'm exploring. There are Teacher Residency programs in the Bay Area, Denver and Boston (which I believe might be considered the "original" or at least the standard). There are Teaching Fellows options in most major cities I'd consider living in. There might even be the potential for getting an emergency certification at a high-need school.

And along with all of these options are the multiple deadlines, entrance exams, proficiency tests, volunteer hours, classroom observation requirements, recommendation letters, state school residency concerns, scholarship opportunities...the list goes on and on.

Add to all of this the potential of actually using my decent GMAT scores to apply to business school, so that I can eventually leverage an MBA with my (future) teaching experience to make an even bigger difference in education and its reform, and you get one huge, tragically unconstrained system.

I know that the key is to just start picking some constraints, like a good little engineer: where to live; what state(s) to apply in, and thus which exams to take; get a (temporary) paying job. But each of these decisions feels so final. I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that none of these choices has to be truly final, and I can always change my mind if I want to.

Like Mom always used to say when my brother and I would stare at the candy aisle for far too long, trying to pick out just one treat, "This isn't going to be the last candy bar you ever eat." Thanks, Mom. Time to make a choice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Open Letter to Teach for America

Dear Teach for America,

Thank you so much for your months-long interest in my abilities and in my desire to close the achievement gap in our country by becoming a stand-out teacher in a high-need school. I regret to inform you that you have made a mistake by rejecting my application for acceptance into your 2011 Corps. I would have been an immense asset to your organization, and a champion for your cause. My leadership experience, my enthusiasm for the teaching profession and my history of persistence and success would have proven themselves invaluable in a classroom of underachieving students.

Instead, I will be pursuing my certification as a secondary education mathematics teacher through an alternate route, without the promise of becoming a TFA Alum. It is my hope that you are not discouraged or disappointed upon receiving this news. I wish you all the best in the future, and I look forward to the time when our paths may cross again.

Best regards,