Affect Many Lives…Check!

May 14, 2015 was the day that I became part of 42,000 Teach For America alumni. These past two years as a teacher and corps member were challenging yet rewarding. There were times when I was frustrated, times when I was filled with joy, times when I cried, times when I was hopeful, times when I was homesick, times when I doubted myself, times when I felt proud, times when I laughed, and times when I just wanted to give up, but through it all…I made it!

It all started in the summer of 2013. I was just an optimistic 22-year-old who wanted to become a change agent within our educational system and I was ready to tackle any obstacle to accomplish my goals. TFA gave me that opportunity in abundance. This organization challenged my theory of change and opened up doors that I never would have dreamed of opening before!

It was also the year where I officially became an adult. I moved to a place where I’ve never been before, a place where I knew no one, I starting paying my own bills, and I started my first full-time, salary paid position out of college. It was the year when I had my first long-distance relationship, when I had a major 6-month allergic reaction to the Houston environment, when I had no life because I went to work at 6:15 a.m. and made it home by 7 p.m., when I experienced major stress and minor depression, when I cried so many times in one month, when I questioned my decision as to why I joined TFA and became a teacher, and when I just wanted to go home to Miami after every work day. I had been tested in more ways that you can imagine.

Similarly, the year 2014 is marked as a year that I will never forget. It was the year when a few of my students’ behavior went out of control, when I would walk into my classroom every single morning wondering if a book would be thrown across my classroom that day or maybe a chair, when I literally lost my mind, when I became a social worker and a teacher because the things my students went through were unbearable, and when my breathing patterns went out of control with just the thought of walking into the torture chamber I called my classroom. But then…somewhere in the middle of the year of 2014…I stopped relying on others to make me happy, I stopped taking things in my work life so personal, and I started to depend on God for comfort. It was the year when I cut all ties with my “boo” and stopped depending on him to make me happy, officially became a member of a church, started attending prayer and bible study at my church, started to grow in my relationship with God, and when my mindset was changed as a result of casting my anxiety and worries unto Him. That year started out rough but finished strong when I realized whose I was and what my purpose was in this life. With that new mindset, I entered the new school year with a renewed heart, mind, and spirit and I developed a sense of urgency to close the achievement gap with a new set of little minds to grow.

Now we are in the year of 2015 and I thank God for allowing me to experience every aspect that this organization, and teaching in general, had to offer. I thank Him for all the blood, sweat, tears, and laughter that I experienced throughout my tenure as a teacher and corps member. I thank Him for all of my forty-six 7- and 8-year-olds that I had the pleasure of instructing and I pray that my little leaders grow into adult leaders ready to further change our world and positively contribute to our society. Although I have fulfilled my 2 year commitment with Teach For America, my journey as a change agent within this educational system has just begun.

Thus, I look forward to taking on whatever else God has planned for my life and I will think of my 46 little ones throughout every step I take in order to remind me that there is much to be done until we live in a just society.


Shelda Raymonvil

2013 Teach For America Corps Member Alumni Induction

2013 Teach For America Corps Member Alumni Induction

Categories: Thankful Thursdays

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