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Advice From Alumni: 'Use What You've Learned to Make Change'

Teach For America alumni share their words of wisdom with our 2018 corps as they enter alumnihood.

Benefits to Gaining Teaching Experience Before Grad School

By The TFA Editorial Team

July 2, 2020

As you reflect on your time in the corps—the challenges, successes, and the unprecedented events of 2020—you are joining a network of over 62,000 leaders who are here to support you as you take the next steps in your journey. Here, alumni share advice about staying centered on your students and your "why," and keeping in touch with those who will continue to push you and guide you in the work ahead.

'Always Remember your WHY!'

“Always remember your WHY! Why did you join TFA? Why is this work important? Why you?”

“Take a mental snapshot of your kids, school, community. They will forevermore by your “why.””

“Embrace this experience. Reflect upon it, and let it inspire you to keep fighting for change.”

“Write down some of your favorite memories from the corps!”

“As long as your next step aligns with your values or goals, you’re on the right path!”

“Figure out for yourself what it means to stay connected and committed to TFA’s mission.”

'Never Stop Learning.'

“Continue to seek opportunities to learn and grow. We’re lifelong learners!”

“Give yourself grace. Challenge your beliefs and try new things!”

“Stay humble.”

“You’re getting a TON of info. Save it all but use what is most applicable for now.”

“If leadership is not your goal, do not rush the process! Get experience in different grades!”

“Teach for a third year. It is so worth it.”

'Continue to Do. The. Work.'

“Continue fighting for equity. Your experience in the corps is relevant to every injustice.”

“Use what you’ve learned to educate other adults about the inequities in education.”

“The work is just beginning. Use what you’ve learned to make change.”

“Continue to do. the. work. You have an obligation to fight for justice beyond the two years.”

“Commit to the community, not just the classroom.”

“The work continues no matter what field you’re in!”

“Don’t forget that you’re an activist and don’t be afraid to fight for change at your school!”

“Be very clear on the gifts you bring to this world and to equity work. Share those gifts often!”

'Never Give Up on the Fight for Racial Equity.'

“Anti-racism isn’t a fad. Strive for it and take it with you through any endeavor.”

“Find people who hold you accountable. Complacency blooms without community.”

“Make DEI work a daily practice and conversation.”

“Whatever you do next, always remember to challenge racial, social, and economic inequity.”

'Surround Yourself with the People Who Will Support You AND Push You to be Better.'

“Stay in touch! There are OODLES of fellowships, networking opportunities, and more.”

“Join your local alum board, even if you move to another state.”

“Stay involved with your region.”

“Some of the best friends you will make are your TFA family -- stay connected!”

“Take advantage of our LARGE network—you’ll find TFA alum everywhere you go!”

“Stay connected with your TFA network, no matter where life takes you.”

“Keep reaching out to the TFA community for support in your classroom.”

'Keep Advocating for Students—No Matter Where Your Professional Life Takes You.'

“Always remember that all kids deserve the very best.”

“Make an effort to keep in touch with your students!”

“No matter where you go now, keep your students and their future in your mind and keep fighting.”

“Keep in touch with your kids and go to their high school/college graduations!”

“Keep your kids at the center of your work whether or not you stay in the classroom.”

'Remember That This Work is a Marathon, Not a Sprint!'

“You can’t pour into others from an empty cup. Self-care is not selfish.”

“Remember your “why”. When you get stressed, take time for yourself, and then refocus!”

“Keep that early-career energy, trust your two years of experience, and MAKE SOME NOISE.”

“Fourteen years in, the work is still hard and the work is still rewarding.”

“This work is hard work, but it’s heart work!”

“Never give up on the mission. Kids still need you.”