Experiences with Teach For America?

Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has had experience with Teach for America. It would be nice to hear from people who got accepted, and perhaps receive some tips and stories from other dopers.

To share a little of my background, I’m a senior who will be graduating in June. I am turning the application in on the next deadline (Nov. 2nd). I don’t have much experience in anything, I guess. I like Japanese but I don’t know if I could go back abroad for the time being. I thought Teach for America would be really good because I am genuinely interested in teaching (I realized this last year), one can earn their teaching certificate by the end of the two year contract (another plus, since my school has discontinued the education major), and it would be a steady, guaranteed job for 2 years (again, I don’t feel like I’m good enough in anything to get hired by a company right out of college, that would take a miracle!). If I get accepted, my tentative plan is to work in California (where I also have friends and family). I would defer my loans until after the two years, seeing as I’ll be leaving Kalamazoo with -$30,000 in my pockets. After gaining residency in California, I would like to stay in the educational field or at the very least continue my schooling. I’ve postponed my plans of world domination for now.

I’m trying not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched. I know plenty of people who have been rejected, and my aunt told me that only 1 of 6 people who apply are accepted. That scared me a little. It’s hard trying to look on the bright side of that when you’re a pessimist to begin with. The future is scary.

Anyways, I would be appreciative of anything that you experienced dopers offer me. I feel that my resume is decent, my gpa is fairly high, and I’m trying to hammer out the last flaws in my letter of intent and essay. If I pass the first preliminary, I’ll have the phone interview next. I will keep everyone posted as to what happens, too!

Okay, I registered for a guest membership just to answer your question. (I’ve been thinking of doing it anyway, but that’s beside the point.)

I was a TFA corps member in New York City for six months before I quit. I had major issues with classroom management, wasn’t getting much support from my school administration, and was miserable pretty much all of the time. Now, you say you are genuinely interested in teaching. That gives you a big advantage over me. I would just recommend that before you commit to anything, you search your soul and ask yourself if it’s really, absolutely, definitely what you want to do. Otherwise, you’ll be unhappy like I was. If you do want to continue teaching, TFA is great, because anything you do afterwards will be a cakewalk in comparison. I’m still glad I did it, because it was quite an experience.

As far as getting in, you probably have a good chance if your GPA is high and you have some leadership experience in student organizations or something. My biggest piece of advice is to scutinize TFA’s website for their education philosophy and continually reference it in your essay and interview. They want to make sure you’re on the same page as them, as well as being smart and motivated.

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your TFA experience more than I did. :smiley:

I believe that I really want to teach. I admit that I am a little nervous about the idea of it all, but hopefully the positives will outweigh the negatives. All of the other people who have been involved for TFA have told me similar stories about it being a very challenging time in their lives, but most say that they were grateful for the experience.

Nonetheless, I really do appreciate your response, as I’m looking for all aspects of the experience. Thank you! :slight_smile:

Obligatory Onion article:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30911

Snirk :smiley: