As a Teach For America corps member, you are part of a close network of people who are working together to support kids in your community.
Leading a Classroom
As a corps member, you’ll be assigned to teach one or more subjects from pre-K through grade 12 in one of our 50 regions. Your subject and grade may change during the hiring process as well as after you are hired, depending on the individual needs of the schools or districts in your region.
You will interact closely with many different people and groups on a daily basis. This includes other teachers in your school and district, partner organizations in your community, your TFA coach, TFA alumni, and of course, your students and their families and caregivers.
Teaching is Challenging and Rewarding
In your classroom you’ll build relationships with students who will show you what’s possible to achieve, even while they face incredible challenges.
This work is hard and never done. Teaching requires incredible strength, humility, and perseverance. There will be days when you feel like giving up. But you are not alone. You’ll need to lean on others for advice and support—veteran educators in your school, along with your TFA network, and others who share your goals for providing an excellent education for your students.
Education is Local
So much of your experience as a teacher will be shaped by the community you are in. Educational standards are determined by states. Curriculums are determined by states, districts and schools. The culture of your school will be shaped by its students, families, principal and faculty. Immersing yourself in your school and neighborhood communities will shape your experience, your point of view as an educator, and your lifelong advocacy for children.
Life as a Teacher
Building Your Support Network
You will get support from the professional connections you form with other corps members and non-TFA teachers in your district, and from mentors in and out of the TFA network. Through leadership development coaching and ongoing professional development opportunities, you’ll learn from a diverse coalition of people united around shared values. These friendships will sustain you during the corps, and some may last a lifetime.
Your TFA Coach
In addition to the deep bonds you’ll form with your fellow corps members and your school community, you will also have ongoing support from Teach For America as you develop your teaching practice and classroom leadership skills.
Once you join the corps, you’ll be paired with a personal coach, often referred to as a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development or “MTLD.” Your MTLD will help you to start the school year on the right foot by working with you to develop goals and a strong plan for your classroom. Throughout the school year, your MTLD will observe your classroom, provide feedback and coaching, and facilitate ongoing professional development.
Opportunities to Grow
You will have a variety of opportunities to build excellent teaching skills through your region’s partnership with schools of education, many of which offer certification programs tailored to TFA corps members. Connect with alumni mentors in your area and take advantage of unique programs, including the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teacher Leadership Award.
Your personal support network, like family and friends, can also be helpful in your development as a teacher. Share information about the corps with your parents and family.
“My mentor teacher taught me that teaching is an art, and a craft that cannot be mastered in one day. It requires patience and forgiveness, so be kind to yourself.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Your training begins soon after you accept your offer join the corps and continues throughout your two-year commitment. Explore the different training and support opportunities available to corps members.
While a background in education isn’t a prerequisite for you to apply to Teach For America, all of our partner regions will require you to complete steps to become highly qualified in the subject(s) you’ll teach in the fall. Most regions also require corps members to work toward full teaching certification during their two-year commitment. Learn more about becoming certified to teach.
Teacher certification costs widely varies across regions, so we recommend that you compare regions to get a better understanding of what expenses to expect. Costs can include fees for required subject tests and licensing, as well as tuition for required coursework.
Some regions may offer discounted tuition rates through their university partner and other financial benefits. You may also qualify to receive an AmeriCorps award by serving as a corp member. TFA also offers need-based financial aid on a case-by-case basis those with demonstrated financial need help you make it to your first paycheck.
You should expect to pay for some, if not all of your teacher certification expenses.
Most corps members receive their first paycheck between late August and late September depending on regional assignment. In an effort to ensure that qualified candidates from all economic situations are able to join the corps, we offer need-based financial aid to help you make it to your first paycheck.
Funding is awarded at the beginning of training and may be used for:
- Reimbursement for travel costs to training including regional orientation
- Personal and moving expenses (e.g., deposits on apartments)
- Necessary coursework, testing, and district-processing fees