Second-generation corps members are Teach For America teachers who were once taught by a Teach for America teacher themselves. In the 2013 corps there are approximately 120 of them, and each year this number will continue to grow. While there are many unique factors that led these 120 new teachers joining the classroom, a few specifically point to their relationship with a Teach For America teacher as their inspiration for their new careers in education.
At the time, the teachers may not have known the difference they were making in their students, but years later, we tracked them down to share stories from their former students.
Now we want to share three of those stories with you.
Then: Dashawna Fussell-Ware accepts John Moore’s "Most Knowledgeable" Award (top). Now: Dashawna gets ready to teach her own class.
Dashawna Fussell-Ware (Miami-Dade, 2013) walked into John Moore’s (Miami-Dade, 2005) AP U.S. History class and had one thought: He’s white.
“At first he rubbed me the wrong way,” said Dashawna. “Who is this white man, talking about his classroom rules?”
Dashawna’s impression changed though. She realized John cared about her.
“Because of John’s encouragement, I became more invested in myself,” said Dashawna.
John, who taught Dashawna in his third year of teaching, and is now a lawyer in Seattle, Wash., didn’t always know he was making that kind of impact on his students. Some days were more difficult than others, but he knew he always had to keep moving forward.
“There were times, especially early on, when I lost control of the classroom, and of my own anger. It was emotional. When I got my quizzes back, and half or maybe all didn’t get something that I thought I’d carried across, I’d think, ‘Gosh, today was a waste of time,” said John.
Dashawna doesn’t remember those days though. She remembers the relationship John built with her, and the confidence he gave her.
“I remember at the end of the year, he said ‘Shawna remembers everything. She just spits out facts and knowledge.’ I’ve carried that forever. It made me think: I’m a genius. It started in that moment and I carried it through institute. It gave me so much confidence in myself,” said Dashawna.
Having the rare chance to hear that from a student almost brings a tear to John's eye. It's a unique affirmation that not even John's friends and family could provide while he was in the corps."
“Did I hear from other teachers or family members when I was down? Yeah, they encouraged me and would say I’m making a difference, but I would get sick of hearing that. To hear what she said, many years later, it makes me really glad. It makes me feel really good about my time there.”