No matter what brings us to Teach For America, it’s the people who keep us here, day after day, year after year. Our staff is a community in the truest sense. We have each other’s backs. We strive to give hard and honest feedback. We seek to improve while listening carefully to each other’s perspectives. It’s not always easy, but we’re learning and growing and having some fun in the process.
Life at TFA
Ask any staff member, “What’s life like at TFA?” and and one thing you’ll hear about are our core values. They are the heart of our culture, painted across the walls of our offices. We live them in our work every day. Learn more about these values and see how they work for us.
Our Commitment to Diversity
- Staff Resource Groups
- Classroom Visits
- Interviews With Corps Members
- Daily & Weekly Press Briefings
Staff Resource Groups
Many of our staff are active participants in at least one of our 30+ resource groups. These staff-led groups aim to foster a deep sense of community among people of shared interests and backgrounds, and are an important part of our life at Teach For America.
Teams of staff members regularly organize and lead visits to our corps members’ classrooms, allowing staff to interact with kids, help with lessons, and participate in activities.
Additionally, hundreds of staff members take day trips to one of our summer training institutes to get a glimpse into how Teach For America prepares our newest corps members.
Interviews with Corps Members
Staff members get the opportunity to participate in “selection,” which is the process of interviewing applicants to our teacher corps. It’s a fun and meaningful way to interact with candidates who share our passion for expanding educational opportunities for kids.
Daily & Weekly Press Briefings
Our national communications team sends daily and weekly emails to interested staff about press coverage that highlights education issues, major changes in education policy, and media coverage of Teach For America.
Our offices reflect our core values and mission, with bright optimistic colors, open communal meeting spaces, and classroom-inspired décor.
Our Commitment to Developing Leaders
- Leadership Development System
- Performance Reviews
- Staff Learning & Development Site
We take professional development very seriously. We want to ensure our staff members are set up to succeed in their current roles and make sure that staff members are receiving robust opportunities in order to achieve their career goals and aspirations. This begins on day one with staff members’ onboarding experiences to later in their tenure as seasoned team managers.
Leadership Development System
Our Leadership Development System (LDS), which serves as our overarching human capital development strategy, enables us to provide value to our staff in several ways.
First, it allows us to match qualified individuals with appropriate roles during the hiring process. Second, it provides our staff with ongoing training and professional development opportunities so that they grow and eventually advance to new staff positions with increased responsibilities. Third, it ensures Teach For America retains high-performing staff members by developing the leadership potential of all individuals.
At the heart of our LDS are our core values. The LDS is also rooted in three competency areas critical to our organization’s success:
Building Relationships & Influencing Others: Building relationships and networks and effectively communicating with and aligning others with Teach For America’s goals.
Operating & Managing: Managing people, processes, and initiatives in order to achieve organizational excellence.
Reasoning & Strategic Thinking: Identification of opportunities, thoughtful analysis, and synthesis of data leading to strategic solutions.
These three competencies are referenced and used on an ongoing basis to set goals, mark progress, provide feedback, and identify areas of strength and opportunity.
Once a staff member accepts our offer, we begin to prepare for his or her success and comfort right away. There are four phases of our onboarding program:
Pre-Boarding: Managers prepare a smooth transition for each new staff member by preparing a detailed day-by-day onboarding schedule they receive on their first day.
First Week: Managers ensure that each new staff member has the materials and resources necessary to work effectively, including an office tour, a computer and phone equipment, and introductory meetings with other team members.
First 30 Days: Each new staff member learns more about his/her role and expectations within the context of his/her team. New staff have conversations about expectations and working styles, what success looks like, and what relevant technical training is needed to achieve goals.
- First 90 Days: Manager and staff work together to reflect on New Hire Orientation, exchange feedback on how things are progressing, and discuss the degree to which the new hire is feeling integrated and what additional supports s/he needs.
All staff members receive a formal performance review at least once a year against the criteria established in the Leadership Development System. The review is meant to be completely holistic, and feedback from managers, direct reports, and peers. Every staff member also completes a self-assessment, allowing them the opportunity to reflect on their own contributions and accomplishments throughout the year.
Some staff members opt to participate in a number of other performance enhancing exercises.
Ongoing Support: Our Staff Learning & Development Site
Because staff members need access to professional development resources outside of conferences and other inperson events, we created a our Staff Learning & Development site. The site is a central location that allows staff members to easily search for and find resources to meet their developmental needs.
We're proud to have been recognized as a great place to work by a handful of magazines and organizations. Our people, our focus on fostering an inclusive culture, our flexible work environment, and our dedication to leadership and career development have all made this possible.