Previous posts in this series:
Part 1: Six Months Ago
Part 2: To Teach, or Not to Teach
Most of the emails invited students to spend their first summer after college doing something involving education. Some dealt with actual classroom instruction, others provided tools for schools to use. Opportunities were scattered in various cities across the country. The delete key became my best friend for the few weeks when I was getting a boatload of these messages. I'm not old, but I felt clearly that I was beyond that chapter of life, chronologically, emotionally, mentally, and physically that these organizations are geared towards.
I kept looking for different jobs since the teaching option was done. All that was required for me to jump into it wasn't something I felt I could do at this stage of my life. I needed a job, first of all. Adding another academic pursuit on the side seemed to be too much for my plate.
But then in the midst of the emails, I saw one that jumped out at me. It was a program called the Memphis Teaching Residency. Their description was like the many others I saw about teaching in a low-income, urban public school but this one was somehow done in a Christian context. I was confused and intrigued. I had to learn more. I felt that there had to be something else going on but I didn't know what.
I began doing some research into the program and came across this article in Christianity Today. I learned that it was a smaller part of a larger shared vision for Memphis. On multiple fronts, various organizations were seeking to improve the city in housing, healthcare, youth and education. The desire is for all residents of the city, regardless of who they are, to have their lives improved simply because a bunch of Christians live there.
In teaching, the goal is to simply be the greatest teacher a child living in poverty has ever had. There is no bringing of religion into the classroom. Just simply an individual who demonstrates strong character traits to shine a light into the lives of kids and helps turn them into people who go onto great things for the city of Memphis. This, in conjunction with all the other groups in the city, not simply working at the same time but actually working together, seeks to bring about a transformation to the city like it has never seen before in it's history.
Needless to say, I was excited. This was unlike anything I had ever heard of. And I could possibly be part of it. I decided it was worth the gamble. Tweaking resumes and writing cover letters were time consuming enough, and this was a bit more involved. I took the risk.
I went ahead and applied.