A Modern Bildungsroman

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 11 2012

“She’s feeling a little sick. And her job is pretty crazy, so…”

What 22-year-old wouldn’t want to spend a Saturday night out in Manhattan?

I tried.  I really did try.  It was the birthday celebration of my boyfriend’s friend, and we went out to dinner and then a bunch of us were at his apartment in Midtown.  I had my Red Bull in hand.  I had my warm boots on in case we had to walk.  I had put some thought into my outfit (“some” being the operative word).  I was set.  Right?

Wrong.  As everyone else was getting set to leave the apartment and head to the bars, I found myself saying, “I think I’m actually gonna head back for the night” and discreetly leaving.  I had the sniffles, and god forbid I get sick in the weeks of the state standardized tests.  Plus, I was exhausted from a day of university classes.  So for the rest of the night, as my boyfriend’s friends commented on me leaving early, my boyfriend dutifully replied, “She’s feeling a little sick.  And her job is pretty crazy, so…”

“We can stay in all of next weekend, don’t worry,” my boyfriend told me the next day.  And suddenly it hit me: I don’t feel like a twenty-something.  That’s exactly what went through my mind as I went back early last night:  I am in New York City on a Saturday night taking public transportation in the opposite direction while reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. And all my non-TFA friends are out celebrating.  While I am going back to probably make sure I’ve had my daily dose of Echinacea and watch freaking House Hunters.

Every day at my job, I hide my age.  I hide it from students who persistently ask how old I am to try to conceal my inexperience; I hide it from the other teachers for the same reason.  And this happens to the extent that my age loses its meaning.  The other day, I had a momentarily lapse and didn’t remember if I was 22 or 23.  How messed up is that?

I am 22.  I’m not trying to minimize the seriousness or importance of our work as corps members, but we (all corps members) should be having some fun, right?  I should be going out and enjoying myself on weekends, not just staying in because if I’m not stressed, I’m tired…right?

So here’s my question: With a job that’s required us to take on so many adult responsibilities in such a short time span, how do we reclaim at least part of our youth?

2 Responses

  1. Christine

    I can definitely empathize since I felt like this for the last six months. And then I went out with some colleagues and realized, a happy and energized teacher is a way better teacher. I burnt myself out on planning and had no life. Please make time to see your non-TFA friends. It’s turned my teaching around.

    (Although I also forgot when introducing myself the other night how old I was, 22 it is:])

  2. first year math

    Yeah, you definitely need to make sure you have some fun! My friends and I in my corps prioritize dancing and taking time for ourselves on the weekends and it makes us more efficient planners and graders when we take time off and happier and more ready for school on Monday. Good luck!

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