A 3rd grader at Little Wound School, taught by Brittany Brendsel (South Dakota 2008).
Looking back, my 24th year was a formative one. After living in St. Louis all my life, I suddenly found myself in DC teaching 30 phenomenal 8-year-olds. I was absorbing everything I could about life, relentlessness, trackers, and teaching (and I was occasionally getting stuck in the wrong lane on Dupont Circle).
I saw this newness in my life as an open door. It was an opportunity to get clear on what I knew to be true, define my beliefs, and take deliberate action on them. I knew every child was capable of excellence, and my students proved that true each day. I believed I could build lifelong friendships in a brand-new city, and sure enough, I stood with three of my fellow 2007 DC corps members—all of whom are still in education—just last month as one of us walked down the aisle. I wanted to conquer diagonal streets and quadrant living, so I volunteered to drive my friends everywhere with OnStar as my guide.
Twenty-four was an important year. I had the wind at my back, promise in front of me, and more responsibility and hope than ever before. I had learned enough to know that if I wanted to live out my purpose and impact my world, I would need to intentionally form myself into the leader I needed to be for those I stood beside in my school community.
Teach For America’s 24th year is similar in many ways. We’re younger than some of our colleagues in education, but we have made critical differences in classrooms and have learned a great deal along the way. In our young adulthood, we’ve had to become clear on what we stand for. In this way, the “What’s Next at Teach For America?” event last month served as a purposeful resolution: a declaration of who we are, what we believe, and a commitment to listen, learn, grow, and prove.