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3 Powerful Ways Teaching Makes a Lifelong Impact on Students

Joining Teach For America is a decision that will have a profound impact on student’s lives—and on your own.

Teach For America corps member with her students

February 13, 2020

Your decision to join Teach For America will have a life-changing effect on the students you will teach and mentor, and it also will challenge and shape your own perspectives well past your years in the corps. You’ll be teaching more than just the curriculum; you’re also modeling what it means to be a leader and cultivating an environment of success, even when immediate obstacles seem at odds with that goal.

If you’re passionate about creating opportunities for all students to succeed regardless of the systemic barriers that stand in their way, consider joining the Teach For America corps to be part of our movement to bring an excellent and equitable education to all students.

Here are three ways we’re working toward creating a future in which every child has an equal opportunity to learn, grow, influence, and lead.

Results-Oriented Learning

Rigorous research shows TFA’s training program prepares corps members to be strong classroom leaders who achieve measurable results with their students.

A “gold standard” study commissioned from Mathematica Policy Research by the U.S. Department of Education in 2015 found that students of TFA teachers learned 2.6 months more mathematics in a year than students in the same schools taught by teachers from traditional preparation programs or less selective alternative programs.

Another study conducted in 2019 by researchers at Southern Methodist University determined that students who have TFA alumni or corps members as teachers are at least as likely to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), if not more likely. The study determined that “Texas students of TFA alumni are on average over seven percent more likely to meet standards on the STAAR assessment than students of comparable veteran non-TFA teachers.” 

When you join TFA, you are making a direct impact on the learning outcomes of the students in your classroom. The attention and care you give to each student helps them approach classwork more confidently, which in turn instills in them a sense of expanded possibilities. Confidence encourages them to approach difficult circumstances with more boldness and leadership because they were able to overcome challenging topics in class. At the same time, you’re developing your own confidence and leadership, too.

TFA teachers have gone on to achieve many district, state, and national awards for their results in the classroom. This includes the 2005 National Teacher of the Year, Jason Kamras (D.C. Region ’96), who now serves as the superintendent of Richmond Public Schools in Virginia, and countless other TFA alum.

Redefine Impact

Join Teach For America to change the trajectory of student’s lives—and your own.


Establish Life-Changing Relationships

In addition to creating results-oriented classrooms, corps members build relationships with students and families to foster supportive environments of success. And often, those relationships last for a lifetime.

That was the case for Johanna Even (Los Angeles ’92), who was placed as a first-grade teacher. There, Johanna met Delia Acosta, a young English Language Learner, and Delia’s mother, a former teacher in Mexico who volunteered to help in Johanna’s classroom.

Johanna grew close with the family and was even invited on a family trip to Nayarit, Mexico. Twenty years later, Johanna attended Delia’s wedding, where the extended family she’d met in Mexico still remembered her.

Recently, Delia traveled to Chicago to celebrate the release of Empowering English Learners for Classroom Success, a book co-authored by Johanna in which she references Delia as an example of what’s possible for English learners when given the right support.

Now Delia is a deputy district director for the Welfare Fraud Prevention & Investigations Department in Los Angeles County. Even after all these years, Delia says, “It meant a lot to have the moral support of my first-grade teacher throughout my life. I felt proud to know that she kept moving on up with her career goals.”

Leaving a Legacy of Meaningful and Lasting Impact

Education is an emotional, spiritual labor unlike any other profession.

If you’re drawn to education, then watch this video to delve deeper into why your most powerful role can be in the classroom.

You have the opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives of students who will carry the lessons you teach with them well beyond the classroom.

This is not easy work.

It’s going to test your grit and determination, but when you find strength and resilience to move past the challenges of the classroom, you will exemplify to your students what it means to prevail when things are tough. You will inspire them to develop themselves and think big about their own future. You may even continue on to a lifelong career championing access to quality education for every child.

If you’re serious about making an impact in your students’ lives—and working to change our inequitable education system—apply to become a TFA corps member today.