Teach for America is an innovative organization dedicated to the development of teachers who are devoted to providing quality education to underprivileged students across the country. Teach for America corps members represent a diverse pool of teachers resembling the needs of the students they teach. Teach of America seeks applicants who share the racial and socio-economic backgrounds of many of its students.
The Teach for America Vision:
The vision for Teach for America is that “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.” Teach for America’s mission is to eliminate educational inequality by developing teaching leaders. The way Teach for America proposes to accomplish this mission is by recruiting recent college graduates with an excellent academic record to teach for two or more years in both rural and urban low-income communities at under-resourced public schools throughout the United States.
The History of the Program:
Teach for America’s Founder Wendy Koop proposed the creation of the organization as part of her undergraduate thesis at Princeton University. Drawing on John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps model, Wendy came up with the Teach for America concept. Her assumption was that many new graduates in her generation were looking for ways to make a significant impact on the current educational system and be able to find a way to make a contribution that would create a real difference. Koop’s journey is chronicled in the book, “One Day, All Children...: The Unlikely Triumph Of Teach For America And What I Learned Along The Way”. The amazing success of the program has made it feasible for children in low-income areas to attain the same level of academic success as children in more affluent areas and more privileged school systems.
The next frontier for Teach for America began in 2007. Called “Teach for All”, it became the global reach program for the organization, a network of independent “not for profits” committed to improving education by placing future leaders in classrooms where they are most needed around the world.
Koop says, "Teach For America is not going to solve all the problems in education, but we have learned so much that I feel can help catalyze change in the whole system."
Teach for America offers a number of opportunities for underclassmen, including internships, campus-based opportunities and summer programs. Placement of teachers is made on individual preferences, current needs, and course preference.
Teach for America Summer Institutes include a five-week intensive training program that is designed to prepare corps members for success. Summer institute staff members train the newest corps members, while they also receive unique leadership and growth opportunities while serving at the institute.
There are a variety of roles available within each institute, including instructional roles and operational roles. Many of their instructional roles are staffed by Teach For America corps members, alums and other experienced teachers and educators.
According to the “Teach for America” website, “Our summer institutes are a five-week intensive training program designed to set corps members up for success. Summer institute staff members play a central role in our organization by training our newest corps members, while receiving unique leadership and growth opportunities.” As alumni of the program, previous Teach for America teachers are encouraged to become leaders in their communities by working with school systems all over the country. The two years of the program is seen as only the beginning of a career that focuses on creating equality and quality of education to children in under-served regions.
Quick Facts (Summer 2012):
- Number of institutes: 9
- Number of staff members: 1070
- Salary range: $2,500 - $9,500
- Time commitment: 6 - 8 weeks
Teach for America has opportunities available all across the United States from Boston to Seattle.
Some of the attributes Teach for America looks for include:
- Deep belief in the potential of all kids
- Demonstrated leadership ability
- Superior interpersonal skills to motivate others
- Strong achievement in academic, professional, extracurricular, and/or volunteer setting
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