Teaching in Memphis

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 08 2012

Culture and Community

The past two days of Induction have gone by so quickly, and we’ve packed so much stuff in! Here are some highlights:

-I had a chance today to go to the school where I’ll be working this fall and meet my principal and take a tour. My principal seems amazing and incredibly supportive, as do the other staff I met today. The school has a (small-ish) auditorium–in which the seats are being replaced this summer–but no theater program. Something for me to take on, perhaps?

-We spent some time today working with a community center in Frayser, one of the ‘roughest’ neighborhoods in Memphis. We canvassed the area, knocking on doors and talking to people about their community, their neighborhood, crime, schools, infrastructure, etc. We were armed with voter registration forms and community surveys, AND kits with baby bottles, diaper changing pads and information about pre-natal care in case we came across anyone who needed those things. It was great to get to talk to people who live in the communities where some of us will be teaching. Afterwards, my small group went to a shopping area to engage more of the community. I wandered around Whole Foods and talked to several people, ranging from a woman who wanted absolutely nothing to do with the public schooling in Memphis to a 36-year veteran teacher and counselor in Memphis City Schools who talked to me for a good 15 minutes in the spaghetti sauce aisle.

-Yesterday, we went to the National Civil Rights Museum (housed at the Lorraine Motel, where MLK was assassinated in 1968.) It was my second time there, but it was still an incredible experience. Our time there included a screening of the short film ‘The Witness: from the Balcony of Room 306.’

This is only a sampling of the things we’ve been up to. The people are fantastic, and this city gets better every day. In two days, we head for the Delta. Onward!

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