Friday, July 8, 2011

I Just Taught for America (and Stuff)

I was on the pot this morning and doing some heavy thinking. Actually, I was doing some stinking as well, but yes, thinking too. For the readers that do not know me, I am not averse to talking about the act of pooping. I'm actually quite shocked that it's taken this long for that to hit the blog. I think pooping is pretty cool; I do some of my most critical thinking during and after the process. In fact kids, some of my best lessons have come straight out of the loo. So go ahead, thank my shit for your test results.

So as I sat there, feeling lazy about the actual clean-up process of pooping, it dawned on me that I had just completed my two year commitment with Teach for America.
Holy time travel Batman!
Done and done, just like that. Of course, I'm sticking around and teaching next year, but there are others within my Teach for America "cohort" that are moving on and doing other things: consulting, investment banking, business school, law school, the list goes on. The network of contacts grows. Excellent. Hopefully at least one of them gets super rich and remembers what a great friend I was. And that I would really appreciate real estate in Manhattan. Preferably somewhere south of 14th street please.

Critics of the Teach for America (TFA) program often say two years is not enough for anyone to figure out how to teach and actually make a difference. After having completed my two years, I think there is some truth to this. I do think motivated, hardworking youngsters can make a difference in the classroom. However, it is quite difficult to become an excellent teacher in two years.

I'm seriously just beginning to hone my own teaching craft. Next year, I will finally have some time to focus on becoming a "master teacher." I'd like to implement better questioning strategies. I'd like to get really comfortable with complete silence in response to a question I ask the class. Ultimately, I want to learn how to shape my lessons in such a way that my students can not only learn but take ownership of the knowledge.

Yeah, that shit just doesn't happen in two years. And if it does, it was an accident.

Since I already did my stint of investment banking prior to TFA, I'm curious as to how some of the teachers in my TFA cohort going into the corporate world will feel and react. They have some perspective now: having seen the enormous problem that is the education system. They were right in the middle of the obvious and harsh inequity that exists among races and classes in the United States. I just don't see how you can light a fire under someone's ass now if it has to do with anything other than fixing that shit.

In fact, I can't imagine going into investment banking or consulting after TFA. Or, maybe I can:

Investment Banking
VP: "Yo Mista, the merger model needs to be updated ASAP. The latest projections from research are in and the BSD needs to see these numbers tonight. I need a draft of the deck in two hours. No. Better make it an hour."
Me: "Bro. Relax. There's kids out there who don't know how to fucking read and they're in high school. This is Microsoft Excel and number crunching, I got this."
VP: "Relax? Kids who can't read? You're fired."
Manager: "Yo Mista! I need a summary of these research reports. I'm going to defer to you during the conference call if the client asks about the data and methodology. Also need you to clean up that data dump they sent this morning. So much shit in the same cell, looked fucking ugly."
Me: "Dude. You want me to manually go through reports and paraphrase shit for you? And then you want me to arrange and rearrange shit in Microsoft Excel just because you want it to look pretty? I didn't go to college for this monkey bullshit."
Manager: "Monkey bullshit? You're fired."
In short, I'm supremely thankful things played out the way they did. I'm thankful for my investment banking experience: I learned a lot about finance, professionalism, bullshit and myself. I'm just glad I didn't do it after TFA. I would've been even more miserable than I was (if possible).

Thanks for steering me in the right direction, NH.


Anonymous said...

Very well written...

raunak said...

Great post.

Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous and Raunak:

Anonymous said...

You write awesome, my friend. Wait, is it awesome or awesomely? Fuck it...