Your training begins soon after you accept your offer to join the corps and continues throughout your two-year commitment. Here's how Teach For America will guide and support your development as a teacher and leader.
Our Pre-Service training will prepare you to provide your students with a high-quality education, and to pursue a lifetime commitment to advancing educational equity and excellence. Throughout the summer and into the fall, you will build relationships with a network of systems-change leaders. Your learning will be focused on concepts that sit at the heart of our work, including culturally relevant pedagogy, anti-racist teacher leadership, universal design for learning, and social emotional learning. You will engage in continuous and critical self-reflection and immediately put the lessons you learn into action in the classroom and beyond; your confidence and hunger to learn and grow will continue to increase as a first-year teacher!
Pre-Service training is rigorous–and it pays off. You will establish a strong foundation that you will continue to hone throughout your time as a corps member. You will also build context and confidence that will help you quickly acclimate to your teaching environment when the school year begins.
What to Expect During Pre-Service
In the spring, you will gain access to our central learning platform to begin your Pre-Service training. You will engage in asynchronous learning, on your own time and at your own pace, to build the foundations for the rest of your training. You will cover topics including:
- Foundational Knowledge and Context
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness
- Leadership Development
- Culturally Relevant Pedagogy
After completing your asynchronous training, you will join the entire incoming corps in a part-time “live” virtual experience as you begin to build relationships with other corps members and prepare for full-time training. You will build upon the topics you engaged with in your asynchronous training.
You will begin your full-time summer training in partnership with other corps members, alumni, and staff from across our network. You will engage in experiences like planning and rehearsing lessons, participating in group discussions, watching videos and models of teaching, and learning new concepts and practices through collaborative adult learning experiences. Your full-time training will cover the following topics:
Content Specific Development: You will learn what excellent, equitable, relevant instruction looks like in your grade and content area, and prepare to lead instruction for your students.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusiveness: You will learn through dialogue with other corps members in your region as you build the foundational skills and mindsets of an aspiring anti-racist educator, and examine your own identity and the impact of race and class on educational inequity within a space that is both challenging and supportive.
You will engage in conversations about anti-racist teacher leadership and what it can look like inside and outside of your classroom. You will explore topics such as socialization and bias at the self, group, and systems level and practice recognizing the impact of your decisions on students, colleagues, and community. During these sessions, you will lay the groundwork for your ongoing development as a leader working toward systems change.
Learning Environment: You will work to co-create equitable learning environments that foster your students’ social, emotional, and academic development. Creating an equitable learning environment that is emotionally, intellectually, and physically safe for students is the bedrock of all that teachers do.
Your learning will be grounded in the science of learning and development and centered on building relationships with your students, as you explore topics related to child development, trauma informed practices, and social-emotional learning. You will continue to build your judgment and skill as an aspiring culturally relevant practitioner as you plan, practice, implement, and reflect on your summer classroom learning environment. You will explore how your decisions around actions, systems, and routines within the learning environment foster student belonging and increase equity of access to learning for all students.
Curricular Literacy: You will develop your curricular literacy—your ability to read and implement a curriculum, including all its lesson plans and materials, with educational equity and your individual students in mind.
You will learn how to understand a curriculum and what goals your students are trying to reach. Then, as you develop your content expertise and increased self-awareness, you will learn how to analyze and make changes to your curriculum so you teach in a way that is rigorous, responsive, and relevant to your students’ identities, cultures, learning strengths and needs, and social-emotional needs.
Leadership Development: You will explore our “Theory of Leadership” and learn how your role as an educator will help you build foundational skills and experiences for changing the systems that contribute to educational inequity.
You will spend a large part of your full-time training teaching students during your Practicum. Your Practicum experience is led by your regional team and is your first opportunity to work directly with students and families. You will put into practice the knowledge and skills you have developed through teaching students in a supportive environment. You will strengthen your relationships with your fellow corps members and staff members in your region. Practicum is also a time for you to learn more about your local context and prepare for teaching in your region!
Observations and Coaching
Teach For America instructional staff will regularly observe your teaching throughout Practicum and engage you in feedback conversations. Together you’ll discuss areas for development and create concrete plans to increase student learning as you develop your teaching skills.
During the School Year
Once you begin teaching in the fall, your day-to-day life as a corps member will take place in the classroom, where you’ll primarily interact with your students and colleagues at your school. You’ll continue to receive additional teaching and leadership training and support from TFA throughout your time in the corps.
Ongoing Professional Development
Your regional team will continue to supplement your learning and development by offering regular professional development sessions, typically held monthly on evenings or weekends. In some cases you may work closely with a cohort of corps members in your region who are also teaching at your school, or who are teaching the same subjects and grade-levels.
Your Teaching & Leadership Coach
You will have a personal coach who will facilitate your ongoing professional development, observe your teaching on a regular basis, and provide you with feedback and guidance on improving your teaching practice. They will become one of your closest partners in helping you develop as a teacher and leader.
Certification Coursework & Master's Degree Option
In addition to ongoing professional development offered by TFA, you may also continue your learning and development through your certification coursework. Certification programs vary from region to region, but you will likely be required to attend courses through a local college or university during evenings and weekends throughout all or part of your two years in the corps.
Many regions also have partnerships with universities that offer a master’s degree program—sometimes with discounted tuition rates.