Of the seven other interviewees present, I was the only person to be fast-tracked (meaning I was invited directly to a final interview, skipping the phone interview), so I felt a little like I was in the dark on what I should emphasize and how I should portray myself.
However, for those of you who haven't asked, I wanted to post my personal essay/statement thing. I think that this essay combined with my resume were contributing factors to my fast-track. Here it is!
I’ve always found there to be something uniquely beautiful about my hands. In no typical way, my hands tell a story of hard work and dedication. A scar from a stray screw while helping a friend with his Eagle project, a burn from a campfire where I made some very special connections with kids and other volunteers who needed it, nails bitten down to the quick from anxiety on my latest project—making sure the families at my school have food to eat on Christmas. My hands tell a story.
That story is shaped by my sincere desire to do my best to help those in need and to pay forward the kindness that has been extended to me by others. Doing so has given me a purpose and it has saved me from a lifetime of dissatisfaction and disconnectedness. Joining Teach for America would help me harness that sense of purpose and put it to use in a practical setting, to provide for children a teacher who believes in them and a nurturing environment to help them succeed, just as I had. I am excited by the opportunity to directly serve others while learning and working in a collaborative environment.
With these hands, I will build a brighter future for children in need and for myself. I will make a difference by being open to new ideas and pedagogy, flexible in dealing with the problems that naturally arise in a classroom, caring for each and every child that I meet, and partnering with administration and families to ensure that the education of children is a joint effort made by everyone in their lives. I hope to encourage a love for reading, excitement for discovery, curiosity and understanding. I operate under the assumption that every child can love learning, and that all parents wants to see their child succeed, otherwise these goals would not be possible.
These are goals of mine where the direct benefits go to those who need it most, and I include myself in that group. The possibility of doing this on a daily basis excites me. As a current Americorps VISTA, I understand the realities of success in this field. I quantify my success as a community builder based on the number of connections I make, the people I talk to. I would quantify my success as a corps member in much the same way: the number of parents I speak to weekly, maintaining a culture of high expectations and seeing my students rise to the challenge, earning the trust of my students, their parents, and school faculty.
My hands have wrapped presents for Secret Santa, cleaned up neighborhoods, and crocheted booties for newborns, but I have bigger plans. I will give everything in me to ensure that every child knows they are special, that they can succeed despite whatever odds stacked against them, that college is an attainable goal, so long as you set that goal and work toward it.