Passing in Philly

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 22 2008

I’ve Been Here Before

This setup is a lot like band camp, ain’t it? Let’s run through the check-list:

  • You wake up before the city does, and work on four-hours of sleep.
  • Teach For America herds you into dining halls to eat processed food in under 30 minutes.
  • There are tireless second-year kids and energetic yet wanton first-year members.

Check. Check. Check. I could go on, but then I’d just feel bad (as in nerdy). I honestly thought I was eight years removed from this. Should I expect to run laps? Have my heart broken yet again by a damn mellophone player?

The city of Philadelphia is playing a déjà vu melody on me too. I arrived in town yesterday with my father and sister. We did our own sorry tour of the city. In front of City Hall my sister remarked that “Philly is like a grown up Cleveland. It’s what Cleveland wanted to be.” She’s right to an extent. She may have been referring to the Sunoco refinery plant. There’s that clusterfuck of traintracks by the airport. A lot of buildings look dingy and unwanted. This is all very Cleveland-esque. Then there are the dramatic differences. Like our disocovery of an actual nightlife. People actually–get this–walk in the streets! You only see that during the GalleryHops in Columbus. So that’s something new. Restraunts stay open later. There’s a legitimate subway line. The perks of a big city are what I’m after.

* * *

I have an hour to go before I meet all these new people who will be in my life for 5-weeks, two-years, or more. I’ve actually been sitting alone in this dorm room for five hours. The time between waving goodbye to my family and waiting for others corps members to arrive has left me with a lot of time to meditate. Should I teach? Then I watched this video, one I believe many TFA members have already watched. I wonder how many times I’ll need to open it up this year.

2 Responses

  1. chrisb

    Oh, that video is great! I haven’t seen that before. You will know you make a difference from the minute you walk in that classroom and see those faces. It will be hard, don’t get me wrong- but you will effect change.
    -Ms. Bennett

  2. I’d never seen that video before. Thanks.

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