Olubunmi Fashusi

Olubunmi Fashusi teaches ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) to K-8 students at a public school in Baltimore City. She joined Teach For America after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011 with a B.S in psychology and communication studies. In addition to her undergraduate studies, Olubunmi devoted time to a spoken-word club, a public-service organization, and the Kappa Omicron chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. During her junior year, she began volunteering at an after-school program for middle-school students, where she discovered her passion for working with children. Olubunmi is currently pursuing an M.S degree in education, with a concentration in urban education, at Johns Hopkins University. She is a proud New Yorker (Brooklyn, to be exact) and a proud Nigerian American. In her free time, she enjoys reading (books and blogs), shopping at thrift stores, and doing arts and crafts.

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As a native of New York City and an alumna of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I’ve seen my fair share of die-hard sports fans. On any given day in New York, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a person walking down the street sporting a Yankees fitted cap, a Mets t-shirt, or a Carmelo Anthony Knicks jersey. I even own a “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” Nets t-shirt. I spent most of my undergraduate career seeing others in Carolina blue, whether at a basketball game, a house party or in class.

But none of my experiences in New York or Chapel Hill braced me for “Purple Fridays” at my school, aka the capital of Ravens Nation. I had never witnessed such loyalty and devotion to a sports team within a community, until I started teaching here in Baltimore City. On any given Purple Friday, I see kids in all grades, from Pre-Kindergarten through eight, sporting a Ravens jersey, hoodie, t-shirt, or a purple accessory (like a bead necklace or bracelet) to display their support for their hometown team. At my school, the most important names on Monday mornings are Lewis, Flacco, Rice and Smith.

Photo courtesy of Olubunmi Fashusi


Olubunmi Fashusi is a member of the 2011 Teach For America-Baltimore corps.

“Sooooooo, what are you doing next year?”

In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count. Each time, my breathing becomes a little shorter and I feel like I’m having a mild panic attack. If only I could spin around a few times and turn into a pile of golden dust like Michael Jackson did in his “Do You Remember the Time?” video. As an alternative, I’m considering carrying a king-sized Twix with me everywhere I go. That way, I can stuff one of the bars into my mouth and make incomprehensible noises while pretending to try to answer the question and secretly praying that my barbaric eating habits disgust my inquisitor to the point that he or she runs away.

If these nosy individuals could read my mind, all they would see is a big, fat question mark. Though I don’t look forward to the anxiety I experience when asked about my future plans, I’m secretly thankful once my pseudo-anxiety attack ends. The question forces me to think about next year.  

Photo by Zdlr via Wikimedia Commons

Olubunmi Fashusi is a member of the 2011 Teach For America—Baltimore corps.

Between 8:40 and 8:50 a.m. on the third day of school, I sat at my desk with my head nestled into the palms of my hands. I was feeling overwhelmed and defeated. I had just finished testing a sixth grade student whose family arrived from Vietnam in July. Throughout the exam, I watched in anguish as he struggled to understand what he was being asked to say, read, and write. I wanted to stop the test so he wouldn’t have to struggle further, but I didn’t. Having the test results would help me understand exactly what he needed to learn, and that would be more beneficial in the long run.

Photo Credit: Alex E. Proimos via Flickr Creative Commons

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