Our Teacher Corps Program
Teacher Corps Program Basics
- Make an immediate impact on students, high-need schools, and communities.
- Commit to teaching full-time for 2 years in an underserved school.
- Get hired by a local school or district.
- Receive salary and benefits directly from your school or district.
- Get qualified to teach in a grade and subject aligned with your background and interests.
- All academic backgrounds and majors are welcome.
- Earn an initial temporary teaching license to qualify for jobs in your area.
- Work toward a full certification while in the corps.
- Select up to 3 regions you are excited to teach in.
- If admitted, transition to a region you selected.
- Discover ways to make an impact specific to your region.
- Research your region’s cost of living and lifestyle opportunities.
The TFA Journey
Your educational equity experience starts as a corps member and continues throughout your career.
Year 1: Developing Your Skills
During your first year as a TFA corps member, you’ll learn how to deliver rigorous lesson plans, create inclusive learning environments, and exercise self-awareness as you develop relationships with students, families, and fellow educators in unique communities. To make sure you’re successful in achieving these goals, here are some ways we help you achieve these milestones:
- A coach will observe you throughout the year and provide feedback, ideas, and space to reflect on ways to improve your teaching and develop you as a leader.
Group Learning Experiences
- Group learning experiences are virtual and in-person. During these sessions, you will:
- Practice how to apply relevant teaching knowledge and skills
- Gain an understanding of your local community history and context
- Live into your commitment to diversity, racial equity, and inclusion in your local context
- Learn how to build strong relationships with students, families, and communities
- Continuously reflect and grow
- Throughout the year, you’ll have the opportunity to join a variety of summits and professional development opportunities hosted by Teach For America. These include summits for select initiatives and identity groups.
Teaching Certification Assistance
- Teach For America will assign regional staff members to provide the necessary information and help streamline your certification process. Here’s what to expect during this time:
- Your temporary teaching license qualifies you to teach in the fall, but you will also have to work toward a full teaching certification in most regions.
- The process for becoming certified typically takes one to two years and begins when you accept your offer to join the corps. Certification options and requirements vary by region.
- You will likely be required to attend courses during evenings and weekends throughout all or part of your two years in the corps.
- Certification coursework can typically be completed through a local college or university, another provider such as a local school district, or through Teach For America. Hybrid programs are also common.
- You may also have the option of extending your certification into a Master’s Degree while serving in the corps. Verify through your regional contact.
On-Demand Teaching Resources
- To help you grow into a strong educator, we provide on-demand teaching resources, including mini-courses, tools, and lesson plans.
- You’ll also have access to experts in your subject area/grade level and the option to personalize this support based on needs and timing.
Mental Health Counseling:
- To help you prioritize your wellness, cultivate positive habits, and regulate your mental and emotional health when tensions are high, we’ve partnered with BetterHelp to offer 24/7 confidential counseling services at no cost to corps members.
- You will have the opportunity to engage 1:1 with a mental health counselor up to 4 times a month, including unlimited messaging.
Professional Development “PD” Saturdays
- Most regions host ongoing professional development events and workshops throughout the year, typically held on weekends.
- Dedicated spaces to get together and swap ideas with other corps members who are teaching a similar grade and subject area.
Regional Transition Teams
- Some regions have “transition teams” of second-year corps members and alumni who help support new corps members.
- Transition team members serve as mentors to help guide new corps members through their onboarding process.
Cultivate Connections With Fellow Corps Members
- Many corps members become roommates, plan lessons together in the evenings, and share the commute to school.
- The ties that corps members create with each other often run deep, and these relationships offer opportunities to discuss and problem-solve challenges, celebrate milestones and accomplishments, and decompress from the school day.
Attend Regional Social Events
- Your region may also host a variety of events throughout the year. These can include welcoming ceremonies, celebrations for milestones and holidays, opportunities to network with local community partners, career fairs, and informal events like barbecues, game nights, and yoga practice.
Get to Know Your School Community
- While many corps members will teach together at the same school, your network extends well beyond the people you’ll meet through TFA.
- You will spend the majority of your day at your school and build close relationships with your school community—your students and their families, fellow teachers, school faculty, and your principal.
Activate Your Membership to Leadership for Educational Equity:
- For corps members interested in civic leadership, we offer free membership to Leadership for Educational Equity, a non-profit leadership development organization working to inspire and support a network of civic leaders to end the injustice of educational equity.
Year 2: Exploring Leadership Pathways
By reflecting on your first year in the classroom, you’ll develop new approaches to teaching and leadership that sharpen your focus on students' individual success. In your second year, we’ll help you hone your skills as you explore post-corp leadership pathways that align with your experience, skills, and interests in facilitating systemic change.
Strengthen Your Teaching Skills
- Co-created vision and goals that are meaningful to students and families
- Ensure your lessons and teaching style increasingly affirm and reflect students and their communities and cultures
- Demonstrate nuanced judgment and skill in attending to the varying learning needs of all students, including linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities
- Encourage student collaboration and advocacy that promotes successful learning as individuals and as collectives
- Regularly improve effectiveness through continuous reflection and learning
Identify Ways to Elevate Equity In Your Career
- Addressing educational inequity requires leadership inside and outside the educational system.
- To evolve your vision for how you’d like to contribute to educational equity now and in the future, you’ll select one leadership pathway to explore throughout the year. Your pathway may evolve according to your interest.
- This exploration may take the form of online coursework, readings, speaker series, and other experiences, in cohorts of corps members both in your region and across the country.
- You’ll assess:
- The power and necessity of contributing as part of a collective
- Your values and unique contributions towards making educational equity a reality
- Career aspirations, potential roles, and development opportunities
Understand Systems and Change Efforts For Educational Equity
- Systems collude with each other to maintain inequitable outcomes for students and communities.
- In order to commit to a lifetime of advocacy, you must develop an evolving understanding of individual, local, and systemic considerations.
- To gain direction on your short- and long-term contribution to educational equity, you’ll learn how to:
- Map systems and interrelated causes and effects
- Discern root causes of inequity and key levers for change
- Analyze power dynamics and decision-making
- Contribute to or initiating student- or teacher-driven school or local initiatives
Lead Local Efforts Alongside Peers & Your Community
- Past corps members say their corps experience accelerate and enhance their careers for the rest of their lives, no matter what field they pursue. We’ll help you find alignment between your classroom experience and career of choice.
- If you choose to live and work in your region beyond your initial two years of teaching, your local TFA staff will host opportunities to learn about the specific leadership needs in your placement community.
- You’ll have access to support specific to the needs of the community.
- During this time, you’ll have the opportunity to:
- Deepen your self-awareness and relationships skills to foster and strengthen connections
- Learn with and from perspectives different from your own
- Partner with families, colleagues, and community agencies
- Secure additional resources and opportunities for students
- If you decide to move, you’ll also have virtual career support and/or access to TFA staff and alumni if there is a TFA presence in your city.
Alumnihood: Lifetime of Impactful Leadership
Achieving systemic change is long-term work. Because alumni look to the network to make lifelong impact, we provide you with mission-aligned career support, leadership development experiences, opportunities to contribute to local change efforts, and easy access to stay connected to our network as it grows, throughout your lifetime.
- To change our country’s education system, we need leaders who challenge conventional wisdom and the status quo and work for the long term both inside and outside the school system. As a TFA alum, you bring an invaluable perspective to all careers in communities nationwide.
- Whichever role or industry you pursue, we provide a variety of resources to help you make confident career-related decisions. Here is a snapshot of the support you can expect:
- Career Center: The Career Center team sources, curates, designs and offers career development resources, programs, events, and more for the alumni network.
- Career Connect: Discover opportunities, build local and national relationships with corps members, alumni, staff, and partners, and meet future employers and colleagues.
- TLEE Career Coaching & Resources: Strengthen your civic engagement in your local community and access a free membership to LEE Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE).
Programs & Fellowships
- To help deepen the impact of your leadership and career, TFA offers fellowships, programs, and mentors to help you master new knowledge, skills, and mindsets. Here are some ways we help you stay connected to your community and students:
- Summer HEAT: This is an exclusive opportunity for early career Teach For America teachers to develop advanced skills in exceptional teaching.
- Aspiring Latinx Leadership Institute (ALLÍ): This is a five-month cohort experience for aspiring Latinx leaders looking to build their skills in school and systems leadership and for career support.
- Brave Education All Year Long: This program enables our communities to access critical learning and professional development in a context where anti-LGBTQ+ legislation has made many of our communities vulnerable.
- Future of Learning Challenge: This is a six-week design experience led by the Reinvention Lab where folks learn to tell the story of the future of learning through design, marketing, and branding.
- LEE National and Virtual Workshops: These workshops provide information about community organizing, policy & advocacy, pursuing elected office, and more.
- PowerHour5 Learning Series (PH5): This five-week, cohort-based series is designed for school and systems leaders. Each series will focus on a different topic relevant to the moment, integrate learning from experts, and provide collaborative spaces.
- Capitol Hill Fellows Program: TFA alumni are placed in full-time, paid congressional staff positions on Capitol Hill, providing insights into the legislative process and hands-on experience with policy and politics at the national level.
- Rural School Leadership Academy: This is a fully sponsored year-long fellowship for current and aspiring school leaders working in rural communities.
- Black Educators Promise (BEP) Fellowship: This fellowship provides support and professional development to Black alumni educators to enable them to continue their work in classrooms across the country. As part of the BEP Fellowship, fellows receive a $1500 award, a year-long professional development series, 1:1 coaching, and cohort support.
- LEE Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellowship: A full-time leadership development program for LEE members interested in a career in policy, advocacy, and organizing, and for those who want to gain hands-on experience during summers.
- LEE Public Policy Fellowship: This fellowship enhances members' policy and advocacy expertise through an organization working toward educational equity.
- A lifelong commitment to educational equity deserves to be celebrated. That’s why we offer opportunities to be recognized through spotlights and financial benefits. Here are some awards we offer:
- Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership: This annual award honors alumni or teams of alumni who embody our core values and have demonstrated significant progress toward educational equity and excellence.
- The Collective’s National Advisory Board (NAB) Honors: This honor recognizes BIPOC Teach For America alumni serving as system-level leaders, school leaders, and community leaders who have demonstrated measurable impact in their roles.
Conferences & Summits
- Renew your inspiration and grow your knowledge while connecting with peers at our conferences and summits. These spaces provide opportunities for you to learn different strategies for attaining educational equity together with both new connections and old friends. Here are a couple of conferences you can look forward to:
- BIPOC Emerging Policy & Advocacy Leaders Summit: TFA partners with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) on the People of Color Emerging Policy & Advocacy Leaders Summit (EPALS), which aims to strengthen the skills necessary to launch a future career in policy & advocacy and deepen the conviction of leaders of color.
- School Leaders of Color Conference (SLOC): SLOC is specifically designed for school and system leaders who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and provides professional development and opportunities to connect in a unique and sacred space.
- No one is alone in the fight for our children. As a Teach For America alum, you’re part of a vast network with people from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and career paths. And we are all here to work toward educational equity. Here are a few unique ways you can stay connected to the cause and community:
- To strengthen connections across our alumni network, this online alumni directory allows alumni to search and connect with one another.
Advisory Boards & Memberships
- DACA Advisory Board: This board advises and supports the work of the DACA Initiative.
- LEE Membership: LEE is a diverse network of equity-minded leaders that teaches its members to organize within their local communities, explore careers in policy & advocacy, or pursue elected office to ensure an equitable education for all children.
- National Advisory Board of The Collective: This board is composed of BIPOC alumni who draw on their expertise to amplify the voice and impact of the national Collective community. They also provide strategic guidance to Teach For America’s senior leadership and The Collective team.
- Native Alliance Advisory Council: This council advises and supports the work of the Native Alliance.
- National Prism Alliances Advisory Board: This board advises and supports the work of the National Prism Alliances. Our aim is to create a more intersectional movement to end educational inequity by encouraging more LGBTQ+ leaders to teach.
- Regional Prism Alliances Coalition: Our Regional Prism Alliances empower, advocate for, and engage people who identify as LGBTQ+ in ways that address the unique needs and complexities of their local communities.
- The Collective: This is an association for alumni who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) that puts members on a path to transformational leadership, fosters community, and mobilizes our collective leadership.
- Regional Collective Alumni Connections: Regional chapters of The Collective foster local networking among BIPOC alumni and mobilizes them for local impact. Each of our chapters focuses on issues specific to their community while remaining aligned to The Collective’s organizational foundations.
TFA partners with graduate schools and employers to assist those in pursuit of an advanced degree or a role in a new industry.
Through our graduate school partnerships, you can connect with other TFA alumni attending similar programs and access alumni who have completed the program you’re interested in. TFA corps members and alumni benefit from exclusive application fee waivers, tuition discounts, and scholarship opportunities. Graduate school partners include Harvard Business School, Northwestern Law School, UCLA and more.
Over 1,000 unique employers partner with the TFA Career Center because they value the skills, commitment, and perspectives developed in the corps.
They offer career opportunities, internships, networking opportunities, career development, and more to our alumni network. View a preview of some of our employer partners here!