It has actually already started. Tonight, there are 2011 San Antonio TFA corps members in town, to take their (first round of) certification tests (They’re badass, baller, and super-flexible, and they’ll take multiple tests so they can be ready to teach whatever our district needs them to teach).
I’m going to meet them tomorrow. Is it weird that I’m a little nervous? I mean, come on. They’re the babies. They’re the ones who presumably know very little about teaching and even less about the intense journey upon which they’re about to embark. They are the naïve, the starry-eyed, the fresh and new and idealistic. They’re the unscathed and down-to-earth, and they are the ones who are starving for information about what my year has been like.
So why, you ask, do I feel this twinge of intimidation? Why do I feel like I’m the one who’s meeting her future this weekend? Why am I sitting up in bed wondering what I’ll wear tomorrow, running through all the faces I’ve seen on facebook and wondering what it’ll be like to finally meet them?
Well, I’ll tell you why, Batman.
Because they ARE my future. They ARE the ones who know so little about this fight, and so they are the ones who dream the biggest, scariest dreams. They ARE starry-eyed and idealistic—so they are the un-jaded, and it makes them positively Herculean. They are unscathed, but they are unstoppable. These people are the future of my students and my movement and my city, and I have no idea who they are. Which of them will be teaching my very own babies, and how far will they push them? How far will they push themselves? Will we be able to somehow endow this new corps with its own breath, independent of their downtrodden predecessors? How many big dreams will they arm themselves with before they find themselves needing that armour?
A year ago, I was there. One year ago, my head was a-spin with the undefined and the unknown, the countless TFA TBAs and TBDs and we’ll-let-you-knows. I’m intimidated for the same reason I’d be unsure how to approach my own pre-induction self—I know the dream I’m living right now is not the dream they’re dreaming. I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I don’t know if I’ll be proud of it in front of them. Have I done right by next year’s corps, having found my feet as late as I did? Am I an example of What Not to Do? I’ve got the wisdom and the context—but they’ve got higher standards. Think about it: they’re going to meet me fresh off of Ms. Lora’s Story. Ms. Lora’s Story! And me… happy when a kid picks his head up off the desk. I’m afraid to meet them because I’m secretly afraid we’ve bred a little nasty strain of defeatism and mediocrity that will contrast sharply with the 2011’s brightness. … like the way butcher paper on the wall fades without you even realizing.