JJ Townsend


I Taught for America and I'm Not Done Yet

I taught for America and I'm not done yet.

I thought after one year as a Teach for America corps member, I'd be ready to move on with my career in advertising. But, gradually, I've realized how much I loved my babies and how desperate education was needed to address the inequities and disparities in their lives. I've seen that our schools are full of amazing educators and students who are very competent but who are working in a broken and irrational system. I saw a passion in other teachers and in parents that I was not prepared for. That lit a fire under me and a recognition in me that I was responsible for this community of children. Collective action is my focus for next school year. I am fired up and ready to partner with others in Jackson—barbers, chefs, doctors, law enforcement—in order to create solutions that our kids need and deserve.

No one ever said it would be this hard to say goodbye to your first group of beautiful souls. I am so grateful to be a part of their lives. I got to play counselor, translator, coach, ally, and Dad. I am proud of their extraordinary academic gains. I am also lucky to work with a team and administration prepared to make tough, dramatic changes in order to turnaround a school. For those who see hope where others see despair, teaching can be the opportunity of a lifetime.

#JXN Classrooms Must Lead the Way for Mississippi!

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