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 support you in becoming an anti-racist teacher leader, preparing you to provide your students with a high-quality education and equipping you to pursue a lifetime commitment to advancing educational equity and excellence. Throughout the summer and your first 90 days of teaching, you will build relationships with a network of systems-change leaders within your region and across the nation-wide corps. 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!
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.
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 begin your full-time summer training in partnership with other corps members, alumni, and staff from across our network. This phase of your Pre-Service training will cover the following topics.
Foundations of Teaching: You will build knowledge, skills, and mindsets around planning effective lessons, building relationships with students, and creating a productive learning environment. Your experience is intended to help you build fundamental knowledge, not mastery.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusiveness: You will 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. This part of the training will help you develop your approach to culturally relevant teaching alongside peers who are also committed to doing this critical self-reflection. During these sessions, you will lay the groundwork for your ongoing development as a leader working toward systems change.
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 get adjusted in your region—the place where you will be making an impact!
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
Every corps member has a personal coach, usually called a “Manager of Teacher Leadership Development” or “MTLD.” In addition to facilitating your ongoing professional development, your MTLD will 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 will 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.