I first heard about Teach for America over the holiday season of 2006. I was sitting in my grandma’s house in Buffalo, NY when my older sister told me about the organization. I was intrigued.
TFA has been on my radar ever since. I can’t recall how many times I’ve visited the website and browsed through all the material. During my senior year of college TFA contacted me, and I met a representative at the Starbucks on campus.
After looking at my resume and chatting with me for a bit, the rep (named Mike) told me I was exactly the kind of person TFA was looking for. I smiled and told him that I was interested, yes, but I had a calling to be an overseas missionary. He did his whole recruiting thing and told me that two years wasn’t that long of a commitment, and I could be a missionary after that. I responded by saying it would be the other way around: I would be a missionary first, and then do Teach for America.
A few weeks later I was contacted by another TFA recruiter, who said in an email to me that “I know that you’re considering overseas missions next year, but I encourage you to keep your options open and allow the Lord to lead you in your decision. Remember Jeremiah 29:11.”
It was a nice email, but I felt a calling to go overseas and I was determined to fulfill it. And I did – though it didn’t turn out the way I expected (does it ever?) I thought I would live in India for three years; instead I went for two months, and then journeyed to 11 other countries the following year.
I’m back now, and I just submitted my Teach for America application (two years after my meeting with Mike), and I find out on Friday if I made the first cut.
It’s so weird, because I am so certain I’ll be accepted – even though less than 10% of people who apply to TFA get into the program.
When I was thinking about being a squad leader for the World Race a few months ago, a wise person told me I needed to have a word from God before committing to the position. “That way, when it’s really hard and you are questioning whether or not you are equipped and whether or not it’s worth it, you can fall back on that word from God and know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.”
In terms of TFA, I’ve asked God for a word of confirmation – is this really what I’m supposed to do? And he has confirmed it – through dreams and people. I believe God gave me the inspiration for my letter of intent, which tells the story of a girl I met in India. I was going to apply for the second deadline, in September, because I wanted to spend a lot of time and energy making my application awesome. But then I heard God say, “Apply by the first deadline. Then you will know it is because of me that you get accepted, and not by your own works.”
All these examples and more are why I believe I will get accepted for TFA, and why I’m supposed to do it. I think God is affirming me this much because I’m getting to the point where I don’t even want to be accepted. The TFA experience sounds hard and awful and I wonder if it’s the best place for me to use my talents and gifts. I’m reading a book that follows the lives of TFA recruits, and the other night I finished a chapter and started crying. Not because I was touched by the stories of the students, but because I was afraid.
Anyways. What will be really interesting is if I don’t make the first cut at all. I’ll probably be more relieved than anything. I’ll let you know next Friday when I find out! K bye.