A Diverse Group of Leaders

We look for individuals who show leadership potential and have other traits that are found in our most successful teachers.

Over the past 24 years, we’ve learned that there is no specific personality profile or background that predicts success in the classroom. Some corps members were educators prior to joining, but many do not have any prior experience in the education field. Your potential as a corps member can shine through whether you’ve led your student government, managed a complex project at work, achieved academic honors, served our country in the armed forces, or rallied support for a cause that’s important to you. And those are just a few of the countless experiences our most successful corps members bring to the table. 

Staff members describe our approach to selecting teachers. 


A Student-Driven Selection Approach

Our approach to selecting corps members is based on our commitment to student success. Corps members are charged with very high-stakes work: helping their students achieve the academic success that will expand their life opportunities. We continuously study our teachers to identify the characteristics of those whose students have made the most progress. We’ve discovered that their most distinguishing characteristics are:

  • A deep belief in the potential of all kids and a commitment to do whatever it takes to expand opportunities for students, often informed by experience in low-income communities and an understanding of the systemic challenges of poverty and racism
  • Demonstrated leadership ability across a variety of settings
  • Strong achievement in academic, professional, extracurricular, and/or volunteer settings
  • Perseverance in the face of challenges, ability to adapt to changing environments, and a strong desire to do whatever it takes to improve and develop
  • Long-term commitment to reaching goals in various settings
  • Excellent critical thinking skills, including the ability to accurately link cause and effect and to generate relevant solutions to problems
  • Excellent organizational ability, including planning well and managing responsibilities effectively
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to motivate others
  • Respect for individuals' diverse experiences and the ability to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds

We look for these characteristics in applicants throughout our admissions process and admit those individuals who show the most potential to succeed in high-need classrooms. If the corps is not the right fit for you, there are many other ways that you can join the movement to expand opportunities for kids. Learn more about other ways that you can get involved.


Pass the Chalk

Check out Teach For America's blog to see stories about teaching, communities, and education in America.

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Choose More. Teach.

All kids deserve the opportunity to choose their own paths in life. Choose to unlock opportunity. Check out stories from teachers, alumni, and supporters who are expanding opportunities for kids.

Find out more » 

Applicant Prerequisites

Read about the prerequisites to apply. 

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I was PETA’s VP of Policy for 13 years, and I developed motivational skills that I used in my classroom.
Bruce Friedrich
Baltimore Corps 2009
As a teacher and before as an RA, I’ve helped others develop the skills they need to grow as adults.
Jodi Romero
Los Angeles Corps 2009