Pre-corps training begins with a regional induction that takes place the week before the summer training institute. Institute is an intensive five-week training program that prepares corps members for their teaching experience. Summer training concludes with a regional orientation.
During induction and orientation, corps members become familiar with their regions and school districts, locate housing, and begin working with staff, alumni, fellow corps members, and community members to get ready for the school year.
Corps members attend the five-week institute in one of eleven locations, depending on their regional placement. During institute, corps members teach summer school for four of five weeks and help their students master critical content for the fall. Coursework is designed to help corps members establish a bold vision for summer school and learn essential teaching frameworks, curricula, and lesson planning skills while building relationships within their school and community. Corps members work with experienced teachers who observe and coach them to improve their skills quickly throughout the summer. By the end of institute, corps members have developed a foundation of knowledge, skills, and mindsets needed to be effective beginning teachers, made an immediate impact on students, and built relationships that will support them throughout their corps experience.
Teach For America provides room and board for corps members to live in local university housing during institute. Special accommodations are available for corps members with partners and families. While institute is a rigorous and intensive experience, corps members have free time during weekends and typically take advantage of opportunities to socialize and explore their institute city.
Components of Institute
Corps members teach summer school students for an average of two hours each day and are observed by experienced teachers. For one of the two hours, they lead a class to master academic content, and build their own skills in delivering lessons and managing a classroom. For the other hour, most corps members work with four to five students to build skills in math and reading and gain experience in leading small group instruction.
Observations and Feedback
Teach For America instructional coaches observe each corps member several times a week. They provide written feedback and discuss areas for development, working with corps members to create concrete plans to increase student learning and develop teaching knowledge and skills. Veteran district teachers partner with each classroom to provide regular feedback throughout the summer.
Rehearsals and Reflections
Corps members meet in small groups that provide a supportive yet challenging space to practice teaching new lessons, react to classroom management dilemmas, discuss feedback they’ve received, and analyze student progress. Corps members leave these small group sessions with clear direction they can use to improve their teaching.
Lesson Planning Clinics
Corps members receive extensive lesson planning instruction from Teach For America instructional coaches. They internalize student learning objectives for the coming week, create assessments to evaluate student progress, select the right teaching methods to meet their objectives, and develop their plans in great detail.
Corps members study the fundamentals of teaching and practice teaching techniques to prepare them for all elements of classroom instruction. Sessions focus on each coursework element below.
Elements of Institute Coursework
The central philosophy of our approach to teaching and cornerstone of our training and support program, the Teaching As Leadership framework introduces corps members to the principles and specific actions that successful teachers take to lead their students to success.
Instructional Planning and Delivery
Presents a goal-oriented, standards-based approach to teaching and teaches corps members to diagnose and assess students, plan lessons, and deliver lessons effectively.
Investment, Classroom Management and Culture
Teaches corps members how to create and maintain a culture of achievement in the classroom.
Diversity, Community, and Achievement
Develops the mindsets and skills needed for corps members to build relationships and work effectively with the diverse students, families, educators and others in the communities where they teach.
Explores how to teach literacy skills to students at all performance levels and across grade levels and content areas.
“Working with Chicago Public Schools students gave me so much confidence and love for teaching.”
—Christina Lear (Indianapolis Corps '10)
2013 Institute Schedule
Learn about the locations and schedule for the 2013 summer institutes. View a sample schedule of a day at institute.
Where We Work
Learn about the 46 communities nationwide where our corps members, alumni, and staff members work together to reach educational equity.
Check out our regions and the corps members, alumni, and supporters who live there »
Words From the Corps
Read corps members’ personal accounts about institute and their teaching experiences on the Teach.For.Us independent blog site.
How to Apply
Get all the details about our application process, plus tips about how to prepare a successful application.