Steven Ward taught for five years before deciding to join the TFA corps. A successful science teacher who was a valued faculty member of two Virginia schools, he was troubled by the fact that he was one of very few black male teachers, and that the diversity of the students in these more affluent communities did not represent the diversity of the nation as a whole. He joined TFA so that he could serve as a role model to students in a community more like his own. Today, he is preparing to be a transformational school leader as part of the Ryan Fellowship program and will continue to help build brighter futures for kids in low-income communities.
Q & A
For five years I taught in schools in affluent areas where I was one of very few black male teachers within sizeable faculties. I was troubled by the fact that my classroom didn’t reflect our nation’s greater diversity, and I wanted to serve students and communities more like my hometown of Washington D.C. That’s when I decided to join TFA.
One hundred percent of my biology students passed the end of course assessment, but my students taught me so much more. My students and I had conversations about race and class in America that shattered what I thought I knew about growing up in a supposedly post-racial society. These are lessons that I still draw upon today.
I was called to a career of service, and my path to service came through education. If you feel similarly called to serve, I encourage you to live your life in a way that enables as many people to have access to the same opportunities that you have had. Teaching is one way to do this. You will make a difference every single day.