Spring is all around. Tulips are bursting out from every nook and cranny of the Upper West Side. I walk by them and smile as if they are there just for me. Also, my sadness over saying goodbye to the white of the bradford pear trees is giving way to the glorious light green that now lines my street. No time for sadness. Beauty is bursting forth.. there is something new every day!
It reminds me that you never know what may happen, what beauty will trip you up tomorrow.
It reminds me that the things you want be just be. right. there.
—— When I was student teaching, my fabulous angel of a mentor gave me a book to keep me company during my two weeks of HOURS of “hall monitoring” for the state tests. Hours of silence interrupted only by a few bathroom emergencies by cutie-pie 8 year olds. “Here, I think you’ll like this one, ” she said. The book “In the Company of Children” looked brilliant, with it’s purples and pinks and blues splattered all over the cover. My kind of book already. “Sure, thanks, I said. ANYTHING to keep me company.” Little did I know, my life was about to change. Let’s see if I can be succinct. Probably not: “I do my best work in the company of children” were her first words that echoed my own heart. I needed to know this teacher and who in the HECK her colleagues were. They were at the Manhattan New School. I wanted to be them. They were the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. I needed to be them. I googled TCRWP. Spent a whole paycheck on a week long summer institute. Got wait listed. Was shown mercy (whoever you are who answered the Reading & Writing office phone that day and squeezed me into Rose Greco’s section, I owe you my LIFE.) I attended. Fell madly in love with Reading and Writing. And finally. Moved to New York City, where I will stay and teach forever.
8 Years Later, as I was walking passed these tulips and tree lined streets, I thought, I must do it. But I thought, Of all the connections I have, I need to do this one on my own. I found a starbucks. (Thank you 84th st.) I opened my computer. And 4 replays of Chopin’s Fantasie in C sharp minor later, this is what I had. And this is what sent.
I have waited 8 years to send this letter. Only now do I feel even close to worthy to send it.
In 2002, as a student teacher, I poured over the pages of “In the Company of Children” as Shelley Harwayne and Joanne Hindley talked about Manhattan New School– about your vision, your mission, and your hope for children of the City. EVERYTHING I wanted education to be was found on the pages of that book. It was then that I dreamed of being a teacher in the Manhattan New School family.
As a first year teacher, I spent an entire SC teacher paycheck on a TC Reading and Writing Project Summer Institute and my soul was IGNITED! Right then and there, I made a decision to move to New York City to teach. Of COURSE I wanted to teach at your school, but I knew I wasn’t ready. I had also begun to develop a calling for impoverished schools in the South Bronx, so my heart led me there.
I’ve been teaching in the South Bronx at MS 223 (a TCRWProject model middle school) for 4 years, where I have helped struggling readers and led my kids to see beauty in their lives through reading and writing. I have now been to dozens of institutes, participated in multiple TC leadership groups with Mary Ehrenworth, and have worked hard to develop my craft as a teacher, reader, and writer. It has been a sweet and powerful time in my life.
Now, I am ready for the return to elementary school and of course PS 290 Manhattan New School flooded my mind. If you have a vacancy and are in need of teacher who believes in the heart of your school, I believe I can be that person.
I am almost certain that you have no positions open for the fall of 2010. But if you happen to, I would be truly grateful for an opportunity to meet with you. I believe with all my heart that I would make a strong addition to your team. After all, YOU are the very school and people who shaped my vision of education. I have heard that everything I hope and believe to be right and true about education is a reality behind those red doors of yours.
I am attaching my resume and philosophy of education. I would welcome any opportunity to sit down and discuss how I may add to your amazing family of teachers and learners. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time! Have a wonderful day.
With Great Admiration,
P.S. If you have no openings, and we never get to meet, let me say thank you. Thank you for what you all do. (I know you were among the teachers that I read about and have since read your work as well.) It inspired me and changed my life. It introduced me to a world I would have never ever known. It made me feel like it was o.k. to dream. It resulted in me moving from South Carolina to New York City, my new home that I adore. That alone is enough to be forever grateful. 🙂