Being Ms. B

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 17 2012

In which there is philosophy in facebook

Spring Break makes you do unusual things, things that you don’t have time to do during the normal work-a-day craziness of life as a teacher.

If I were being poetic, I would tell you that the stand out leisure activity from today, my first day of temporary freedom, was wandering through an epically well stocked indie book store in South County.  I would paint majestic word pictures using all types of figurative language to walk you through the precariously perched purchases that slipped like snakes from my overburdened hands.

Lucky for all of you, I’m on vacation.  Poetry is the furthest thing from my mind.

Confession: Sometimes when I get bored, I facebook stalk myself.  There is something kind of fun about trying to judge yourself as others might judge you.  There is also something kind of fun about uncovering some of the pearls of wisdom that you thought pithy and clever enough to share with the entire world.

For example, this little treat was written on November 9, 2010.

can’t believe that this time next year I’ll be Ms. B to a bunch of middle schoolers. Proud to be a member of the 2011 TFA St. Louis corps!

19 people took the time to click the little “like” link and give me a thumbs up for this auspicious news.  11 more took the time and effort to write actual Comments About My Grand Success.   Of these, 5 were written by peers, 2 by former teachers, 1 by a 2010 corps member, and a few by me.

On September 12, 2010, I shared:

just submitted my TFA app… when did I become a grown up?
Then, traveling further back in time, on March 13, 2010:
K is perplexed as to why spring break is always the most stressful week of the year…
Here are the hilarious things about all three of these posts:
  1. As a college junior, I might have thought that I knew what stress was… but I clearly didn’t.  But people were just so nice to let me think that I was truly “stressed out…”
    (sidebar: if as you’re reading this you’re thinking, “She thinks she’s stressed now?  She ain’t seen nothing yet,” then please, please, please… don’t tell me.  I don’t think I could take it.)
  2. Really, submitting a TFA application made me an adult?  Really?
  3. I think I probably should have been more fixated on the fact that children would be calling me by things other than Ms. B.

As I sit here on this very different two years later Spring Break, I am forced to ponder…  When I wrote those three statuses, I really did feel stress, maturity, pride.  At least, I don’t think I would have fabricated it all together.  So is this just another symptom of the real transformational change of Teach for America – the process by which we, and not our students, become totally unrecognizable people?   Because while I can assign stress, maturity, and pride to any number of experiences, they certainly are vastly different than those I would have assigned 6 months, a year, 18 months ago.

Six months ago, I choked out the words, “I’m a teacher,” if someone asked what I did.  Today when the nice gentleman who handled my emissions test at the garage asked me about my job I laughed, told an anecdote, and went on with my day.

One year ago, I was waist deep in academic research so dense that it took countless lab hours and 82 pages of writing to piece it together.  Although I knew I was months away from the classroom, it had no impact on the way I thought or saw the world.

Eighteen months ago, I flippantly waltzed through the Teach for America application process in juxtaposition with the Marshall fellowship for graduate studies.  I called them Plans A and B, as if it couldn’t matter less to me which came to pass.  And when one was a no and one was a yes, my roommate drove me to get frozen yogurt and we toasted my future in the devil-may-care style of the very young.



Who was that girl?

I’d like to meet her.

3 Responses

  1. Kelly

    I could say this about pretty much everything you post, but: I love, love, love your writing, and identify with it so much.

  2. Michelle

    No one imagines that they’ll be called anything other than “ms. B” when they start teaching…even those who did it by the ‘normal’ route…guess that means we are the most naive group ever to hit the post graduate work world (full disclosure…I got called a c&$t my first year)

    • katb

      You embrace it as a badge of honor. My friends call me “hella b****” in honor of some of the wall art in my room

Post a comment