I have dropped off the grid for the last three weeks, and, sadly, that is set to continue for the next three. I am currently in South City, Chicago, at what is known as “Institute” for Teach For America. Before I explain exactly what I have been doing, let me tell you a little about this organization. Teach For America is an educational organization that stands behind the belief that education is one of the most beneficial resources that we can ever have and that all children deserve an opportunity to receive the best possible learning experience. As most everyone knows, our educational system is not the best in the world. This is in no way going to get political, it is simply a fact. Our scores are woefully low and children who live in low-income areas are far too often doomed to poor education simply because of where they were born. Teach For America aims to change that. By sending enthusiastic, educated, and dedicated teachers into those lower-performing school, Teach For America tries to close the achievement gap by radically transforming students’ learning habits and beliefs about themselves. After all, big thought comes before big action. So, last year, I applied and was accepted to this organization. About a month ago, I was placed in one of St. Louis’s toughest, most desperate school districts. In order to prepare for that, I am now in Chicago getting intensive training and teaching summer school at a high school with a similar situation to what I will be facing back in St. Louis. I have been teaching English II to 11th and 12th graders for the last three days and will be doing so for the next three weeks. I have to tell you, the kids are amazing. The first day that I walked in, one of the girls said, “I want your hair.” I laughed and told her that she could have it, since it was going to be gone soon enough, anyway. In just three days, I have had students make amazing progress from where they were previously. It’s incredible what a difference it makes when you have someone working with you who truly believes in you. I am in no way implying that these kids are lucky to have me; on the contrary, I am lucky to have them. Just today, I encountered one of my students talking on his cell phone in the bathroom. I gave him my best teacher look and asked him what he was doing. He told me that he was on the phone with Illinois Institute of Technology applying for the Criminal Justice program. This is the same student who, just three days earlier, said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go to college. The training that I am receiving involves working from 7AM to 10PM every day of the week. I teach for an hour in the morning, grade papers, and plan out lessons, in addition to attending a lot of professional development courses, including classroom management, student investment, diversity dialogues, literacy education, and more. To any and all teachers out there, thank you. Thank you for all of the hard work that you put in every single day for so little gratitude. To touch on pipes briefly, I was able to go to Iwan Ries while here in Chicago and it was absolutely incredible. I will be writing a piece about my trip soon and going back again before I leave, but I can tell you that that trip to Iwan Ries on Saturday was the difference between a pay check and medication and bed check. It really helped keep me sane and going through one of the most intensive work experiences in my young life. I tell you all of this not to ask you to respect me, but simply to tell you what has been happening in my life. And maybe, just maybe, I will be able to share an inspirational story or two that might help some people regain faith in the future. I know that I believe in the future and I have dedicated the next two years of my life to making it as bright as possible for as many children as possible.