(Closed) I’m considering Teach for America.

posted 7 years ago in College
Post # 3
Member
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I don’t know too much about it either, but I applied and have my interview in mid-February. The interview process seems intense! I’d also be interested in hearing the answers to your questions if anyone else could chime in. It sounds like a very challenging, yet rewarding, opportunity though. Good luck with your application – I think the last deadline is coming up soon.

Post # 4
Member
746 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Since your major is ECE, are you going to be getting certified this year? If so, I don’t think TFA is right for you. TFA is usually for people who did not major in education in their undergraduate years; the two-year TFA committment entails teaching full-time and going to school to earn your Master’s degree and certification. Since you’ll already have your certification, that type of program would be unnecessary. Maybe take a closer look at the TFA requirements and what they’re looking for in an applicant — they aren’t really looking for people with teaching certification.

If you really want to earn your Master’s degree right away, I would suggest looking for teaching jobs in districts that are willing to contribute to your tuition (typically, this only happens in richer schools). I taught for four years (at a school that had some TFA teachers, although I was not one of them) and recently went back for my Master’s degree; I would suggest getting some teaching experience before starting your Master’s.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions! 

Post # 5
Member
658 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Like limeade is right…

Post # 6
Member
2725 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@likelimeade:  is correct. They generally take non-teachers. I decided to bow out before i had my last interview because I read about the financials and heard some really bad stories. I would have likely been in East St. Louis, very rough. Anyway from my understanding  you have to pay for the credit hours up front. They will reimburse later. It sounded like a lot of people rent a house together to afford everything. I also really didn’t want to get my Masters in Ed. I do however, think it’s an excellent initiative and I’m sure lots of people have wonderful experiences. I would get it on one of the chats they do…I learned a lot from it. The recruiters can also give you the contact info of someone from the region you are interested in. 

Post # 7
Member
273 posts
Helper bee

I interviewed for a teaching position through the New York City Fellows program in November, 2009. It is similar to Teach for America. I believe the requirements are similar and as everyone above mentioned, I am pretty sure you are only eligible as an applicant if you do not have any teaching experience. I was a business major.

Anyway, the process was rigorous. I won’t go into details here as I am not 100% sure that it is the same for both programs. I did receive a job offer from NYCF to begin teaching in Fall, 2010. I declined the offer after reading many reviews of candidates who went through the program.

Post # 8
Member
1925 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I am personally against Teach for America.  I’m in a teacher education program and I teach in South LA.  You need to be trained specifically to teach in urban schools to teach there, otherwise you will burn out.  I highly recommend instead applying to a teacher education program to be specifically trained to be a teacher.  Otherwise you will be just another unqualified teacher who leaves these students in two years.  This is not what the students need.  They need someone who knows what they are doing and who will stay in their school.  I hate to be harsh, I just feel very strongly about this issue!

Post # 10
Member
1310 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

My sister is in TFA and it’s been a hellish experience – she would not recommend it to anyone. A lot of her fellow TFA first year teachers are in therapy due to the emotional stress (they pound it in to you that if you don’t teach well, your very first year, your students will wind up being killed in the drug wars or something). There is not a lot of practical support in how to do things, they just kinda throw you out there and you have to figure things out on the fly. Supposedly during Institute (the training program in the summer) they tell you there will be support, but nada. She has started therapy now, too. Nevertheless she is trying to stick it out because it looks incredible on your resume.

Post # 11
Member
4518 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Go ahead and apply to TFA, but as others have said, my understanding is that TFA actually look for people who don’t have an education background. (I have a couple of friends who have done TFA, but I haven’t done it myself.) If I were you, I’d also look into teaching fellowship programs, like NYC Teaching Fellows (they exist for other cities too). These fellowship programs are geared more toward people who want teaching to be their lifelong career. With either TFA or a fellowship program, you’ll get your masters paid for, but you won’t be earning much money.

Post # 12
Member
3718 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I work in a field where I am one of the only non TFA-alums, so I have a unique perspective. First, I am not in the classroom– nor are they. They all left teaching because they felt it was 1) too hard, 2) not important enough, or 3) not the right fit. From my perspective, it was such a waste for districts to spend all this time and money training them, and just when they started to become decent, they left (research shows that teachers tend to be pretty bad their first year, better their second year, and then get even better for the first 5 years). These teachers failed at something for the first time in their lives because TFA did not give them the suport and training they needed to succeed. To me, TFA is a great resume boost for people who don’t want to be in the classroom, but not a great way to train teachers and not a great way to keep people in the classroom.

If you want to teach, please teach! Apply to schools directly and either get an emergency certification or apply to a teaching fellows program (NY and prince george’s have good ones). Most districts pay for your masters and help you with your loans. The benefits for non-TFA teachers are just as good, if not better, than of TFA.

Also, from a personal note, regular teachers do not respect TFA teachers anywhere as much as they respect regular teachers (in my old job I was frequently mistaken as a TFA teacher and when they realized my real role teachers were much more helpful). You will get so much more out of going through traditional channels.

Post # 14
Member
1829 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

As a former TFAer, I can confirm that it is hell, but it was NOT my experience that they frown upon previously certified teachers.  I can think of 2 people in my cohort (18 people) that already had their teaching certification before getting into TFA.  

I second Magdalena’s statements that it is not massively supportive and is incredibly difficult.  If you are 100% committed to going through hell for the next two years and hoping to make a positive difference, then by all means continue through with the application process.  If you can make it through the interview process alone, you’re doing well.  You also have to be willling to put every last bit of your personal life on hold, especially the first year.  You’ll be a full-time grad student in addition to full-time teaching, so your free time to relax, plan a wedding, and/or enjoy life will be severely limited.  

There have been a few TFA related posts going around lately – I wrote a long response on one a few days ago and gave many more details, so I won’t go into them here, but if you want more info, feel free to PM me. 

Post # 15
Member
1829 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@Pollywog:  I second this as well – I tried to keep my TFA status quiet in my second year of teaching (I was at a different school from the previous year) because regular teachers do frown upon TFAers a bit.  We go through 5 weeks of training; they go through 4 years.   Most TFAers come in with overly optimistic attitudes and mindsets of ‘If we just work a bit harder and believe in our kids, we’ll turn their lives around’.  What the other teachers hear is ‘You’re not working hard enough and if you just believed in these kids, the school wouldn’t be failing right now’.  It’s sort of a catch-22 and I can see both sides, but when you’re a brand new teacher and in way over your head, you really need the support of your fellow teachers.

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