Jazzy Jottings

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 24 2013

Story of Self

I have been working very hard on my pre-work. Here is what I have developed for my Story of Self. What do you think?


My papa always said you never fail until you stop trying. My dad always told me to do your best and then do even better. I grew up in rural north Georgia with these two mantras always playing in my mind. I knew that no matter what I did in life I had to do better than my best and never stop trying. My life has given me opportunities time and time again to put these mantras to the test.

One such opportunity came during high school. My family is a big football family. However growing up, while everyone else was watching the first part of the game, I was counting the minutes until the halftime show. I loved half-time, because that is when the color guard performed. As a little girl, I could not wait to become a member of their team. To my disappointment when I was in 8th grade I tried out for color guard and didn’t make it onto the team. I was devastated. I talked to my Papa about it and he uttered the same words that he had told me time and time again, “You never fail until you stop trying.” So I worked hard. I made my own flag and practiced everything that I knew how to do. The next year after working so hard I made it on the team.

Later, during my sophomore year, I really knew that I wanted to become a color guard captain. I had worked hard to be on the team and now I wanted an opportunity to do better than my best. I made a goal for myself that I would make guard captain before I graduated high school. I informed my guard instructor of my goal. At the time she nodded her head and kind of brushed it off. Senior year came and it was my opportunity to try out for team captain. I had worked hard, arrived early and left late – I knew this was what I wanted.

After years of hard work I made color guard captain. I remember talking to my guard instructor later about becoming captain. I said, “Mrs. Albright I set a goal and achieved it.” She was proud of me for working so hard, and then she told me something I did not expect. She said, “Two years ago when you told me your goal I never thought you would achieve it. You surprised me, because of your hard work and dedication.”

Another instance that put these mantras to the test happened during college. I left high school ill prepared for college and how hard it was going to be. I had breezed through high school. I never had to study, and as long as I did all of the work I could excel on the tests. I was rudely awakened my first couple of years in college. After doing poorly in a few classes and doing well in others, it came time for me to declare my major and apply to the school of education.

I was not accepted into the school of education. Just like my dreams of color guard, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. I had applied to the Secondary English program. I met with one of my professors and she informed me that secondary English teachers didn’t have southern accents. I hadn’t been accepted because they were afraid my accent would hold me back and I would never be hired.

Up until this point, I had never thought about my accent or the way I talked. I knew that my writing voice and my talking voice are completely different (in fact sometimes I make horrible grammar errors when I am speaking). That was the product of my family and where I am from. I was shocked at the realization that my accent could hold me back from my dream. I called my mom and talked to her about it. Apparently it was not uncommon for this to happen, because the teacher she was working for had the same experience at a different university. I asked for advice and worked with my friends very hard to adjust my southern accent.

The next year after working hard not only on my accent, but on my grades as well, I was accepted into the school of education. After a few months in the program I was asked to join a committee that helped to improve the school of education, and I was elected the president of the education departments club my senior year of college. Yet again my mantras played out and helped me to find success.

I know that through my time in the corps I will have many successes and failures. I am dedicated to follow the mantras of my papa and dad. It will be hard, but I will always work really hard and try to do better than my best efforts.

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