(Closed) Teach for America?

posted 7 years ago in Career
Post # 3
1667 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I haven’t done it, but I’m interested to hear about it as well? Did you have to major in education to be able to apply?

Post # 5
916 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

If you are thinking about teaching as a life-long career, I would recommend looking into traditional education masters programs.  TFA does provide you with some training during the summers, but it’s really just a five-week bootcamp, and people I know who have done the program find that it really doesn’t come close to preparing you for the challenges you are going to face. 

I’ve had three friends do TFA–one quit two months in, one went on to become a career teacher, and one couldn’t wait for his two years to be over (the first and third were in LA, the second was in Houston).  I kind of feel like TFA is just setting idealistic college grads up for failure–they’re being sent in to the hardest classroom situations with a minimal amount of training.  At the same time, I know people who majored in education, have their masters, and can’t get jobs (even in the toughest districts) because no one is hiring–but since TFA teachers aren’t paid by the district, these untrained teachers are getting jobs.  It’s also putting the children at a disadvantage, that they constantly have undertrained teachers (50% of TFA teachers stop teaching after their two year commitment, and many who continue teaching leave the inner-city schools for more suburban districts that are less challenging and pay better). Articles like this one: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/22/AR2010082202893.html talk about how results have been very mixed as to whether or not TFA is successful.

I realize that I am being a Debbie Downer, but although I think that the idea behind TFA is great, I just don’t think it works as well in practice. 

Post # 7
916 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

@PitBulLover: You might want to look into Americorps.  It’s a program where you do long-term volunteer projects aroud the US (kind of like a domestic Peace Corps).  http://www.americorps.gov/ Another option is City Year: http://www.cityyear.org/default_ektid13307.aspx  With both of these programs you are given a stipend.  I would look into if your college has an office for post-graduate service opportunities (the career center would be a good place to start, but some schools have a separate office for service opps), because they would be able to walk you through the options.  This website gives a good starting list of post-graduate service opportunities: http://socialconcerns.nd.edu/postgraduate/pg_opportunities.shtml

Post # 8
981 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

If you’re looking into teaching in a big city, I recommend checking if the cities have a Teaching Fellows program (I was a NYC Teaching Fellow). TFA’s goal is more to have people become invested in education, then go on to other fields and always be advocates for education, while Teaching Fellows aims to make career teachers. I will say the TFA summer training is INTENSE – I worked it twice and I kid you not my schedule was booked 6am – 10pm every day and you live on campus. When I was 22 that would have been fine, but I’m not sure I would be interested in that at 30.

Post # 10
2103 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I’ve applied and have had friends apply and do it. They seemed to be happy with their experience.

It is a very competitive program. Keep that in mind when applying. I agree with looking into the Teaching Fellows programs. They often help you to not only get your license, but a M.Ed. or a M.A. in Teaching (often for free), which TFA can help with, but most people I know who have done it, still have loans from their graduate programs (at Penn and Johns Hopkins).

Also, you might want to see if your state has any other alternate certification program. You can find this out through the NEA and teach.gov websites. I just found out yesterday that in my state, I can get provisionally certified through a 16-week online program through a local community college (this is VA, btw), BUT you do need 5 years of professional experience after a BA among other requirements. You do not get a Master’s through this program, but I will have mine in my subject area in less than a year.

Americorps is good, but the pay sucks. I understand it’s more about service, but in big cities where some of the programs take place, you will also have to look into some other form of income (part-time job, perhaps).

Post # 11
13096 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I have a few friends who have done TFA (all got stationed in CA – some in LA area and one in the Bay area) and they all seem to have enjoyed it.

I considered it (I’ve been told I’m really good at teaching and a love kids) but I think I would get too frustrated by the kids who had no interest in learning.

Post # 12
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - Muckenthaler Cultural Center

Bump – did you apply?

Post # 13
2702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I’m bumping this again. I found this thread after searching for TFA.

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