Lora Cover, ’96 Washington, D.C., works on TFA’s Human Assets team.
I first met Avi in Moody Towers. For those of you that weren’t TFA corps members circa the mid ‘90s, that was where every corps member lived during institute in Houston. We were meeting our fellow D.C. corps, playing an uncomfortable game of two truths and a lie, and trying to sound cooler than we were. I highly doubt I succeeded. Avi, on the other hand, was cute and confident, seemingly the opposite of how I felt in that first week as a corps member.
People love institute. They have fond memories of being part of a larger group of like-minded people living and working together. I wasn’t one of those people. I spent the summer incredibly anxious. How in the world was I going to start teaching on my own in the fall when teaching in a collaborative group was so hard? What if Teach For America had made a mistake selecting me? Would I actually have a placement in D.C. at the end of institute? (We were routinely reminded to “bend like a willow tree” when discussing things like where we would be living in the fall.) So even though I wanted to impress the cute, confident guy over Blimpie subs, I was way too preoccupied to even have a conversation with him.
It wasn’t until we were both in D.C., placed in the same school, that I finally pulled myself together to offer him a ride home from school. With chalk on my black skirt (it would take me two more months to realize that black wasn’t a great option in the classroom) and my hair falling out in all directions from the original bun of the morning, we talked about our first few days in the classroom. And while hearing Avi talk about his own family, his students, how much he cared about them, and how thoughtful he was about how he could support them, I started to fall in love.
A month later we were both moved to other schools. Turns out that our principal thought we were just volunteering and didn’t have the headcount for us so we had to find new schools and placements (luckily we knew to bend like willow trees). We both threw ourselves into our new classrooms. Although I still had my eye on him at all-corps events, we didn’t actually go out on our first date until the last day of school our second year of teaching.
By then we were far past the awkward moments of trying to come up with two truths and a lie. We married two years later and now have two wonderful, confident and cute kids, Ruby, eight, and Solomon, six. I still tense up a little thinking about institute and my first few weeks as a corps member, but it also holds a special place in my heart as the place where my personal and professional fate was sealed. I can’t imagine not working towards ending educational inequity and I can’t imagine doing it without Avi at my side. So although it is a little belated, thank you Moody Towers.
Lora Cover, ’96 Washington, D.C., works on TFA’s Human Assets team. She lives outside of Cleveland, OH with her husband and two kids. She spends her weekends with her oldest daughter supporting her efforts to sell lemonade, duck tape flowers, necklaces, etc. to support different charities (every weekend!) and losing races to her youngest (he is really fast!). Every once in awhile she gets to spend time with her husband too.