I spent much of the morning compulsively checking my status on the T.F.A. website even though it clearly stated that the information would likely appear after 3 p.m. Eastern Time. I pried myself away from the computer and went to visit my grandparents. Then this afternoon I got the official email.
They don't want me to do a phone interview. I get to skip that step and advance directly to the final in-person interviews! I don't know how or why they made this decision, but I'm pretty excited. Although I feel bad about wasting the assistant dean's time helping me learn techniques for telephone interviews, it is fantastic that there is one fewer step in which to mess things up.
Isn't it interesting that T. F. A. has such cachet that I'm competing against Ivy Leaguers for a job that might pay $25,000 a year? Whether I get in or not, I am going to teach for at least a couple of years, and I'd like to think I'm driven to do this by altruism rather than by external factors. This is what I feel inspired and passionate about doing. However, I must admit that if I'm going to be doing this sort of work either way, I wouldn't mind getting the resume boost as well.
There are many steps I need to take between now and the interview, which will be sometime February 5th through 7th. I'm going to try to break things down into manageable daily goals so I get everything accomplished, make progress on getting data for my thesis, and remain calm. Right now, I'm going to review carefully the articles they asked me to read for the interview and begin researching placement regions.
Teach for America will want to know my placement preferences by February 1st. My top choices at the moment are Hawaii, Eastern North Carolina, and the Mississippi Delta. I do think I'm leaning toward more rural regions, but I haven't been enough places to feel certain. If any of you lovely readers who live in regions where T. F. A. volunteers work would like to make suggestions, I'd be most appreciative.