TFA and Pageants?

A matriculating Teach For America corps member (in a different region) wanted some insight about balancing both pageant and TFA before she made her final decision to accept the job offer from TFA. She plans on competing for her state in the very near future, and wanted to decide if she could do both.... lucky for her I have been able to experience this first hand.

 (Photo by: Kim Jew)

Here is the email I wrote her, in case there are any other pageant girls out there who would like to do both Teach For America and be their respective state/national title holder. Or, if you just want to give as much of yourself as you possibly can to serving others....

Hi D,

Yes, I too am glad that I could be here to help you prepare for the next year. I feel that this is a very rare situation, so how incredible that I am able to share my experiences with you and help you better understand the role that you may soon have.

It seems as though our state requirements would be the same, although the Miss New Mexico USA Organizations does not expect me to take the year off. In fact, they are quite proud of the fact that I am a teacher and encourage women to be able to balance both career/school and service. Now, if I were to win Miss USA this spring then yes, that would be a full-time job, just like Miss America.

With regards to my experiences thus far, I have found that you have to be creative with your time management, and yes, I have sacrificed many things like free time to read, travel, watch movies and do the artistic things that I love to do. The way I see it though, I'll have time for that all in the future. The books and movies will still be there; but the opportunities might be long gone. I also teach classes and direct the after school program, so I do have very little free time.

So here is a little insight as to how I managed to balance everything. I wake up before school to go to the gym, and I do pageant prep on the weekends. I got all of my sponsors this summer before the school year started. I prepared protein shakes for lunch and yes; I still managed to eat as healthily as ever. Yes, I still plan to teach full time and do the after school program. I feel that this helps make me a more rounded person and while I'm challenging my energy and abilities I'm learning more about myself and my work habits. Being a teacher and a part of TFA has helped mold me into the role model that I am now. It has also helped me learn to communicate with families and master my public speaking skills. When you stand in front of a classroom everyday you have to bring you’re a-game. I have felt the joy of being part of a movement that is so significant and relevant to the needs of the community I serve in. TFA has taught me so many key life skills, I mean just think about the core values, those alone can help you become a better person and leader if you internalize them the way TFA expects you to. I have learned how to suspend judgment and how to give myself more than I could have ever given before. I have felt the feeling of accomplishment and pride at the end of a school year when I helped my students reach their goals. All of that has helped me develop into the leader that I am. I certainly feel more confident and self-assured. I am very proud of my accomplishments and hard work.

I am technically already doing what Miss USA would be doing with her reign. I work daily and unremittingly to make a difference and I manage to take care of myself and promote various organizations as well as my state. I have used my title already to help promote what I am doing and to promote TFA. Newspapers and TV stations are constantly reaching out to me because of this unique situation, which gives me even more of an opportunity to promote something I believe so much in, and develop important communication skills with regards to media relations.

I too am so happy that A connected us. I am so glad that I can offer help and guidance; I would love to further help in any way. Hopefully I answered most of your questions, if you want me to go more in depth please let me know. If you have any other questions please ask as well.

All the best to you, you seem like such a beautiful and amazing woman who wants to do so many wonderful things with her life. I admire you for trying to do everything that you can to make a difference and change lives through education. I appreciate that you have put so much thought and dedication into figuring out how everything will work. What's meant to be will happen, and you will shine regardless of the path you choose. I know this is a tough decision, but look inside yourself and figure out what will make you happy and proud. 

  And guess what? She accepted! I would like to hope my advice played a small role in that. :) Regardless, I am super excited for her and I plan to help her prepare for the amazing set of years she has before her. I also encourage anyone else who may need advice to reach out to me as well.

Love & Learning,

B. Toll

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