I'm in my 5th year as an assistant professor, and I'm just starting to figure it out. Tonight I received an email that helped clarify things quite a bit...
It comes from a student who took the very first sociology of education class I ever taught. I don't want to identify him so suffice it to say that he's a first-gen college student, an underrepresented minority, who had never traveled outside of Wisconsin when we met. Upon graduation he planned on a career in law, but was accepted by Teach for America and sent to New York City. (Again, he had NEVER been outside of WI....)
I've long wondered what happened to him. Here goes:
Hey I am so sorry and this email is long overdue. I just wanted to give you a quick update on how things are going with me. This past year I completed my 2 years with Teach For America and received my masters in elementary education from Pace University. This past summer I worked for Teach For America as a corps member adviser training the new teachers and it was an awesome experience.
I have decided to remain in the classroom teaching 4th grade at PS XXX in the Bronx. I would like to pursue administration in the future. I have been placed in a lot of leadership positions at school as only a 3rd year teacher: data specialist, data inquiry team chair, school leadership team co-chair, grade team leader, etc. My plate is really full this year but well worth it. I am in the process of applying for grad school's again for a masters in supervision and administration. Following those 2 years I would like to get my PHD in Supervision and administration as well.
I have to say that meeting you and being in your sociology of education class really did inspire me from you being so young and talented at the time and me even being interested in education. Thank you! I hope all is well with your family and work."
And that's it-- I'm staying where I am. Right here. Where clearly, despite my best efforts, I matter.