Why I Teach for America: McKenzie Byrd
Some days when I wake up, like everyone else, I “snooze” the alarm and pull the covers tight around my body—trying to keep all the energy and comfort of a good night’s sleep for just a couple minutes longer. As I lay there trying to capture the feeling of security and warmth of my room, I cannot for the life of me stop thinking about the students I have to get up and teach. I want to stay in bed. I want to stay warm and dry and asleep. But I want to teach my children more. I have come to realize that there is no other room in the world that makes me feel as warm or as secure as my classroom at Kingsbury High School.
My classroom at Kingsbury is never warm when I first walk in the door at 6:40am. Despite the heat blowing full blast, my classroom never gets warm until 7:15am when my first student, Javon, walks into class. The moment Javon crosses the threshold, I am reminded why I pull myself from bed each morning. With Javon comes the new day. Every day brings new experiences and challenges to my life and every student enriches my life in a different way.
As a teacher, I have learned as much if not more than the students who have sat before me. While they were learning Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry, I was learning patience, perseverance, and possibility. As they struggled to master equations, quadratics and tangents, I struggled to master discipline, investment and differentiation. Although we have faced hardships along the road to success, we have learned new and valuable lessons about persistence in the face of adversity and commitment to a larger goal.
This is why I Teach For America.
*This FedEx Citizenship guest blog was provided by McKenzie Bryd, a Teach for America corps volunteer in the Memphis area*