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Since 2010, Teach For America Memphis has been a licensed Education Preparation Provider in Tennessee, and each of those years Tennessee has named us on of the top three licensure programs in the state. Through our certification program, our corps members earn their teaching license during their two years in our program, with no outside classes or certification work required.

Our Training Focus 

During your first year, our training focuses on helping you lead your students to academic achievement by building teacher skills in the context of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. We believe these skills have to be broken down into component parts so you can learn how to put them back together, with lots of public practice, opportunities to observe exemplars, and ample 1:1 directive coaching.

During your second year, our training centers on vision-aligned leadership, furthering your development as a Culturally Relevant Pedagogy practitioner, and helping you further strengthen bonds with your peers. We do this through disruptive experiences that are responsibly debriefed within peer-led learning circles. We focus on facilitating peer coaching in partnership with you.

After completing your corps commitment, we will support you as you join our outstanding alumni community in the ongoing effort to lead change and advocate for educational equity from every sector.

Becoming Certified to Teach

To earn certification through Teach For America Memphis, corps members must attend all required Teach For America professional development experiences, pass state-mandated certification exams, and hold a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.

After completing the corps, your Tennessee Practitioner License will remain valid for a third year in a Tennessee classroom. To advance to a Professional License (the final licensure level) in Tennessee, alumni need to complete a third year in the classroom and pass the edTPA Assessment. You can find more information about edTPA in this guide

Alumni are responsible for taking the steps to advance their license, though our team will support you with information and guidance through this process. Check out this guide to licensure after your corps commitment for more information. 

If you will begin your corps commitment with a valid out-of-state license, our team will discuss any testing and possible licensure requirements on a case-by-case basis.

Graduate School

Completing a master’s degree is not a required part of our program, but we do have partnerships with two graduate schools for those interested in pursuing an advanced degree.

Christian Brothers University Master of Education Program (Local Partnership)
Our region partners with Christian Brothers University (CBU) to provide an option for teachers going into their second year of teaching (or beyond) to pursue a Master in Education (MEd). Corps members are able to use their Teach For America experience to count towards course credits, making it possible to receive a master's degree in only one year of study and also reducing the overall tuition. Teach For America corps members and alumni receive nine hours of experiential credits and a 20% reduction in tuition. You can begin the program either in the summer between your first or second year, in the fall or spring of your second year, or during alumnihood. CBU now offers courses specifically for edTPA preparation within the MEd program. 

For general information on the program, visit their website or contact graduateeducation@cbu.edu. You can also reach out to Dr. Cort Casey, Associate Professor at cort.casey@cbu.edu.

Johns Hopkins University Master of Science in Education Program (National Partnership)
All Teach For America corps members (incoming, current, and alumni) have the opportunity to enroll in the highly- ranked Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Education’s online master’s program for Teach For America, leading to a Master of Science in Education (MSE) at a reduced cost. JHU waives 9 credits for your Institute training and accepts transfer credits. Their online format includes several support systems: Hopkins instructors to support educational pedagogy, real time discussions to ground the coursework in classroom context, and video-based platforms to support reflective practices – all aligned to Teach For America rubrics and expectations. You must currently be in the classroom in order to take advantage of this opportunity. JHU offers a course specifically for edTPA preparation during their program. 

For more information, visit the JHU website or contact the admissions team at soe.tfa@jhu.edu or at 1-877-JHU-SOE1.

Rhodes College Master of Arts in Urban Education (Local Partnership)
Teach For America Memphis recently established a formal partnership with Rhodes College’s Educational Studies program. Rhodes College’s Master of Arts in Urban Education program is a 14-month program (Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer). Each student will prepare a master’s thesis that will be defended in the final summer in the program. Students will advance through the program in a cohort-model, wherein the courses are taken in sequence with the same group of candidates. For TFA Memphis corps members and alumni, Rhodes will waive 12 credits, offer a $10,000 scholarship, and pay for all licensure exams. Rhodes College offers edTPA support through their edTPA coordinator.

For more information, visit their website or contact Arlinda Fair at faira@rhodes.edu. To speak with Dr. Zachary Casey, Assistant Professor and Associate Chair of Educational Studies, email caseyz@rhodes.edu.

Teach For America Training 

What to Expect

The summer before you begin teaching, we host a six-week training session right here in Memphis, known as insitutue. At institute, our two key priorities are for you to build your leadership and to build your community. You will spend time in professional development sessions designed to ensure you are ready for the first day of your fall teaching placement, with a focus on lesson planning and execution, classroom learning environment, building authentic relationships, and cultural competence. We’ll spend time together as a team exploring our Memphis GRIND values and learning about our city’s history and its present. In weeks two through six of institute, you’ll also teach a summer school class daily, with the support of your coach and learning cohort. Learn more about summer institute. 

Tentative dates: June 2-July 13

Estimated institute costs: Room and board are covered during institute (either in university dorms, or via a stipend for those with existing housing in Memphis). We also provide transportation to the school site and all required off-campus activities throughout the summer.