Alumni Feature: Tamika Ball
January 19, 2016
Tamika Ball ('07), Atlanta, GA
Research Associate, Benchmarking, College- and Career-Readiness Standards, Southern Regional Education Board
Why did you join TFA: While working as an external auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP accounting firm, I realized the impact I could make in the classroom through my participation as a volunteer coordinator of company team building activities for first-year associates and summer interns. I understood the rigorous process other college students and I endured in order to achieve the position as an auditor. As I continued to host collaborative events in hopes of easing the transition of becoming an auditor, I realized I was often the only minority or female among the crowd of new hires. I wondered what I could do professionally to increase the visibility of females and minorities in this field. Finally, I recognized by transitioning into teaching, I could achieve that goal, and through my participation as a 2007 Teach For America Corps Member, I could encourage students who lacked confidence in mastering mathematical concepts and skills to begin believing that it is possible to excel and enjoy the subject.
Favorite TFA Memory: My favorite TFA memory was simply sharing my story as a first-year educator many years ago with hundreds of new Teach For America Corps members as the keynote speaker for the 2014 Teach For America Atlanta Institute Sendoff. Looking into the audience of fresh and eager educators awaiting to make a difference in their placement schools just weeks away melted my heart. For me it was more than sharing words of wisdom, that moment was an opportunity to expose how sincerely difficult yet rewarding teaching truly is. I wanted them to know even the best of us will face difficult moments in the classroom and life, but to never give up because we have at the palm of our hands the future of God’s most precious gift, children.
How has TFA impacted you: Teach For America has impacted my life significantly and truly taught me how to live a life of service; service that I contribute to my passionate drive to target high levels of absenteeism while teaching at my placement school. With increasing disciplinary suspension rates, pregnancy, childcare or illness issues, I recognized that students needed access to class materials online. I built a website accessible to students outside of class, allowing them to submit assignments and communicate with me for instructional purposes. Due to this grassroots implementation, my students were able to access school material from the comfort of a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device. During my seven years of service at my placement school, students with high levels of absenteeism were able to maintain their academic standing by participating in live instructional activities via online systems like schoolrack.com or Edmodo. I became an advocate for change, ensuring all students had access to a brighter future similar to the vision my mother and former teacher instilled in me.
Community Activites: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Jack and Jill of America, Fayette County Area Chapter; Member, Georgia Teacher of the Year Association; Board of Trustees, The Olivet Church
College Attended: North Carolina A&T State University-BS Accounting, Mercer University-MAT Secondary Mathematics, and currently attending Mercer University-PhD Curriculum and Instruction candidate