September 14, 2020
Teach For America leaders come from diverse backgrounds and have a multitude of experiences. From New York to California, these individuals are chosen by TFA for their demonstrated leadership, their belief in all children's potential, and their commitment to innovation and transforming education to meet the needs of today’s students. They are mission-driven and committed to equity.
As educators in San Antonio and across the nation go back to school amid a global pandemic and racial tensions, we asked a few teachers—Teach For America San Antonio 2020 corps members—why they joined TFA and how they feel about entering this school year.
7th Grade, English Language Arts and Reading, Edgewood ISD
Hometown: Owasso, OK
Undergrad: University of Tulsa
What did you do before TFA? I was an education specialist for Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the only state-funded African American museum in Arkansas. I was recently a classroom teacher, going into my seventh year in the classroom: I taught art for two years, and English for four years. Beyond the classroom, I served on district leadership teams focused on diversifying texts in the English Language Arts curriculum.
How are you feeling as you begin teaching amidst a global pandemic and racial tensions across the country? As a mother of three Black and Native children, racial injustice and equity have always been a conversation in our household. I hope the conversations continue and real change happens. One way I am contributing to change this year is by forming a student-led group to elevate student voices, discuss important topics, and advocate for change on issues that are important to them.
Why did you join TFA? I joined because I truly believe in its mission and vision of TFA and their focus on diversity and inclusion. TFA allows me to expand my resources to help support my students and continue working towards educational equity.
1st Grade, Edgewood ISD
Hometown: Carrboro, North Carolina
Undergrad: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
What did you do before TFA? I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with honors and a Bachelor of Arts in Education. In my last semester of undergrad, I completed an internship at a local nonprofit that provides free early childcare services to the underserved community of Durham, North Carolina.
How are you feeling as you begin teaching amidst a global pandemic and racial tensions across the country? Entering the classroom as a first-year teacher during the current climate of racial injustice and COVID is scary and unpredictable. And yet, the need for high-quality education and opportunity for all children is higher than ever. As a first-grade teacher, I hope to not only teach my students the academic content but also to teach them what it means and looks like to be a good human. I hope to instill in my students that they are capable of changing society as we know it. I am so excited to begin this journey of growth and development alongside my students, because I, myself, have a lot to learn.
Why did you join TFA? I joined TFA because I believe that all children deserve the opportunity to access a high-quality education. I know that, although the potential is equally distributed across lines of race and class, opportunity is not. I am thrilled to be part of an organization working tirelessly to close the opportunity gaps in our country.
Audio/Visuals Production Teacher, San Antonio ISD
Hometown: Calabasas, California
Undergrad: University of Maryland
What did you do before TFA? Before joining TFA, I studied Broadcast Journalism and Government & Politics at the University of Maryland. I spent much of my time producing multimedia journalism, playing intramural basketball, and holding various internships including positions at NPR and the office of a U.S. Senator.
How are you feeling as you begin teaching amidst a global pandemic and racial tensions across the country? I imagine teaching through computer screens, and protective shields will limit the learning environment. Still, I welcome the start of the school year, not as a distraction from the ongoing pandemic and strife but as an opportunity to discuss and analyze these pressing issues in-depth with students. We're all bearing witness to the COVID-19 pandemic and its cascading effects on our social, professional, and private lives. Racial injustice has again been exposed in its most reprehensible form and made way for a platform for activists to demand reform. Additional current events, including a presidential election, economic downturn, consequential Supreme Court decisions, a growing wealth gap, and humanitarian crises abroad and at the U.S.-Mexico border, impact us daily. I see an opportunity to help students unpack these issues, think critically about the world, and formulate personal and collective understandings. That will be a focus of my teaching, whether done virtually or six feet apart at a minimum with masks in a limited-capacity classroom.
Why did you join TFA? I joined TFA to be the kind of inspiring teacher that I was fortunate to have had in my public school experience—the kind of role model figure that alters your world view and makes you want to work harder and learn more. I'm also intrigued by the idea of working in education administration or education policy and believe there's no better way to understand an issue than by facing it head-on.
10th Grade AP World History - KIPP
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Undergrad: California State - Long Beach
What did you do before TFA? I was teaching in Honolulu, Hawaii.
How are you feeling as you begin teaching amidst a global pandemic and racial tensions across the country? I am entering the classroom with even more love and compassion and with a greater sense of purpose.
Why did you join TFA? A teacher changed my life by empowering and believing in me and I want to do the same for my students.
This fall, 120 Teach For America corps members will be leading classrooms across 50+ campuses in our partner districts (San Antonio ISD, Edgewood ISD, KIPP, IDEA, Compass Rose, Democracy Prep, and Pre-K 4 SA). They are part of a larger network of over 500 Teach For America leaders in San Antonio, committed to educational equity, economic mobility, and brighter futures for our students.
Read more stories from new Teach For America corps members across the nation in this article, Becoming a Teacher During the Pandemic.
People of Color
Grew Up in a Low Income Community
For the first time ever, and in response to COVID, Teach For America trained 3,000+ incoming teachers across the nation through Virtual Summer Teacher Training (VSTT). We designed innovative approaches and reimagined our summer programming to continue forward safely preparing bold leaders to enter the classroom this fall while maintaining the rigor and meaningful connections that are foundational to our approach. Each incoming corps member completed 150 hours of training. Checkout this VSTT highlights video, featuring voices of students, corps members, speakers, and special guests.