Suriving and Thriving in Chicago

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 02 2014

Where I go to Chicago for the first time!

Hello world.  I am excited to announce that I am writing this from a cozy little coffeeshop in the lovely Ukrainian Village neighborhood in Chicago.  I came down a few days ago for my interview day so that was cool.  It went okay.  I talked to five schools but I don’t have any solid offers.  A lot of people did.  I was a little surprised I didn’t to be perfectly honest because I have a little more experience than most of my TFA peers, but I’m not too worried.  The school year doesn’t start until August so there is a ton of time.  One school and I jived super well together, but they don’t know their enrollment numbers so they aren’t sure if they need another special education teacher since the schools they are coming from haven’t sent in the paperwork determining if they have special needs, etc.  We’ll see!

But yeah a lot of my new TFA peers got hired so that was cool for them.  There were definitely some in my boat that will still have to look around, but it’s all good.  All of my interviews have been with charter schools thus far which is a little different too.  I think that the majority of TFA-Chicago teachers are placed in Charter schools.  I want to say maybe it’s like 65-35 for charters?  I’m not really sure how I feel about it.  I think that it really depends on the school itself as to whether it’s a great school.  Like I was talking to some really cool schools that are charters, but I know there’s some that are like eh not so fantastic especially back in my area of Ohio from what I can recall.  But the same can be said about public schools too I suppose.

I got to stay an extra couple of days and explore which was super cool.  I met up with my cousin and her husband that have been living here for several years now so it was really cool to see them.  They took me around to a few different parts and introduced me to my first Chicago-style pizza!  I liked it.  Not sure if I can have that all the time for pizza since it’s just a big cheese pie basically, but I digged it.  Got to chill with their two crazy dogs too which was fun.  I would love to have a dog, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen haha.  They live in West Loop which was a really nice area and their apartment was an awesome open-concept loft.  Most likely out of my budget, at least for the first year or two, but still cool to see.

We finally got some info about summer training.  Thank goodness.  Our training is a regional program rather than the traditional TFA Institute.  It seems pretty similar from what I can tell, but I guess it’s just more specialized for Chicago.  They are trying out a new living model where we can either choose to live independently on a stipend or live at the dorms like the traditional Institutes.  I have opted to stick with the dorms because I know it’s going to be crazy busy so I don’t want to have the added stresses of cooking, grocery shopping, extra transportation issues, etc.  I’ll just find a place on the weekends when we have a little bit of time.

I have to fly back in a couple of hours so I suppose I should wrap this up as I have to head out in a few hours.  Thanks for ready and I’ll check in soon!

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A chronicle of my time teaching in inner-city Chicago

Special Education

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