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5 Ways TFA Builds Strong Teacher Communities

Learn how Teach For America cultivates a sense of belonging for corps members and alumni.
Teach For America - 5 Ways TFA Builds Strong Teacher Communities

If you are considering joining Teach For America, here are some ways we cultivate a diverse community, well-being, collective support, and continual learning so you can impact the next generation with a sense of purpose and pride.

1. Create a Diverse, Inclusive, and Close Community

This school year, more than 2,200 new Teach For America teachers stepped into their classrooms—but they didn’t enter alone. Being a part of a community that shares your vision and shared experience is vital to doing great and challenging work. To build kinship and an extra level of support, whenever possible we intentionally place our corps members together in the same schools and in schools with TFA alumni.

We also understand the importance of increasing cultural understanding, representation, and engagement among students and teachers. That’s why we place high importance on diversity as we cultivate a sense of belonging. Nearly 60 percent of our new teachers identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). As you’re thinking about where you want to teach, our interactive map lets you see the percentage of BIPOC corps members in your region of interest and highlights regions with legal protections for sexual and gender orientation.

As a corps member, you can leverage our national and regional resources to connect with other educators and education advocates across our network. Programs like The Collective offer BIPOC alumni opportunities to network, thought-partner, and advance work towards education equity faster while programs like PRISM aim to create brave spaces for LGBTQ+ teachers and ultimately students in every region.

Making room for you to embrace your full identities with people of a shared experience allows leaders like you to learn, grow, collaborate, and take action, together

2. Encourage Deep Connections

By nurturing an inclusive and supportive ecosystem, we've witnessed corps members create incredible bonds that extend well beyond their classroom. 

Your students may become your fellow changemakers, as happened to alumna Sarah "Mili" Milianta-Laffi (Houston ’06), who partnered with her students to end period poverty in schools across the state of Hawai‘i (and won).

Unlikely life-long friendships can blossom during your teacher training. You never know when you’ll have a meet-cute moment like Gregory and Fahima or Chrizia and David. Maybe you'll even usher in a tiny future corps member like Evan and  Adolphia

Corps members and alumni have become cofounderscoalition builders, and industry trailblazers—all aiming to shake up their respective industries to create an equitable playing field for the next generation. 

People like Reyna Montoya and José Patiño, leaders of Aliento, built a grassroots coalition in Arizona that successfully persuaded voters and politicians to provide in-state tuition and financial aid for over 65,000 undocumented students so they could attend college.

We’ve even seen students become TFA teachers!

So many amazing stories have stemmed from the Teach For America corps experience. Yours could be next!

3. Prioritize Mental Health for a Safe Space

Mental health is a topic that's becoming less taboo, especially in the field of education. From our first interactions with you to your time in the classroom, we've integrated wellness principles and practices into all our training.

We created events like Equity Talks, where social justice leaders talk about a range of topics, including how mental wellness and social impact go hand-in-hand. Social-emotional skills and a mental health curriculum are critical to helping students foster a sense of belonging. You can learn how to develop both as a corps member and a fellow in our tutoring program, Ignite

To show our commitment to your well-being, corps members are offered a variety of wellness resources and supports, including access to affordable counseling, coaching, and other mental health resources.

Caring for your own and your students' mental wellness is crucial to bringing out the best in yourself and your scholars. It’s the best way to make the biggest impact. By collaborating with mental health experts throughout your Teach For America experience, we aim to provide the resources and support you need for a sustainable and fulfilling career.

What does it look like to prioritize care in the classroom?

Having found refuge with his own teachers as a young gay man in a community that didn’t accept him, Dylan Lewis (Houston '17) tries to be the kind of teacher who made a positive impact on him.

4. Develop Supportive Conditions for Growth

As you excel in your career, a keen sense of innovation, authenticity, and strong mentorship can help you reach your full potential. Many of our corps members find a mentor among the veteran teachers who are TFA alumni working in their schools or regions—who sometimes become lifelong advisors and even friends.  

Through programs like Evolve, we go beyond resume building and interview preparation to offer you access to development opportunities that will help you thrive in an impact-oriented environment.

During your journey with Teach For America, you'll receive local training and school-based coaching as you build connections with peers and veteran educators. Our program equips you with evidence-backed tools, one-on-one coaching, mentorship, group learning, TFA summits, and teaching certification assistance. Programs like Cultivate assess how students think, feel, and believe about themselves in class and teach you how to use the info to support students' social, emotional, and academic development. All are designed to help you make a meaningful impact. 

As alumni, you can access the Alumni Hub, a treasure trove of events, resources, and opportunities to enhance your professional growth.

Your professional evolution doesn’t have to be a siloed experience. By offering opportunities for personal and group guidance, we hope to create a solid foundation for your continued growth.

5. Commit to Continuous Learning

Understanding your interests, aspirations, and needs is crucial for shaping a brighter future. That's why we've created the Reinvention Lab, an immersive, engaging, experiential learning program where we explore innovative ways of working and thinking about learning as an organization in the 21st century.

By actively listening and collaborating with you, we hope to empower you to drive innovation as the next generation of education changemakers. 

Ready to take the next step?