Thursday, May 28, 2015

Everything Teach For America so far!

You may know that I recently graduated from The Ohio State University. You may not know what I am doing now that I have graduated. So for the big reveal... I'm spending the next 2 years as a corps member of Teach For America!

Teach For America describes itself as a highly selective organization that selects motivated leaders to teach in low income communities. Corps members undergo an intensive 5 week "institute" that prepares them to enter their classroom. Throughout the 2 years, there is continued training in educational practices and professional development.

I have been assigned to teach "diverse learning" (more traditionally known as special needs) in Chicago. I'm excited, scared, overwhelmed, nervous, gung ho, anxious, and even more all at once.

The decision wasn't an easy one for me. You know that feeling at the nail salon when you are trying to decide what color to choose for your pedicure? Making the decision to accept my offer with Teach For America was sort of like that, only harder. What if I like it now, but don't like it later? This is a nice option, but so are all those other ones available to me. 

Right now, I have less than 2 weeks before I pack my bags to live and attend Institute in downtown Chicago. Institute is a 5 week training program that introduces us to basic teaching principles and eases us into controlling a classroom. Yeah, in 5 weeks I'm supposed to learn how to be a teacher. It's nuts. A cool part of Institute? We get to live right across the street from Grant Park!

I know that there are a lot of criticisms of Teach For America. Some people think that 5 weeks isn't enough time to adequately train a teacher. Some people have arguments regarding the paths of funding to schools with corps members and to corps members themselves. I've read the criticisms, but I have responses to every single argument. In Chicago, classrooms with a TFA corps member consistently show increases in test scores and report having a profound impact from their teachers.

At the end of the day, I believe a world WITH Teach For America is better than a world without it. TFA is more than just a fast path to teaching; it is a social movement.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions regarding Teach For America! Wish me luck on this new adventure.

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