Why the Teach for America Process Matters

Posted on November 25, 2014

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By: Rin Palmer

Rin at Snowden Elementary

Rin at Snowden Elementary

I applied for Teach for America starting on September 22nd, which was the second deadline. I have never had the intention or dream to be a teacher, I am not even an education major or minor, but that was what I loved about the program. They were looking for dedicated, passionate, leaders who wanted to make a difference in the fight for creating education equality. This was something I overpoweringly wanted to be a part of.

I first researched absolutely everything on their website, contacted former corps members who I knew, and overall, reflected on myself and why I wanted to be a corps member. The first step was the written application, which included personal background information, your resume, official transcript, and answering four short answer questions. After about two weeks I was notified that I had made it on to the phone interview stage. To prepare for this, I did research on the TFA website about their mission, diversity, and created questions that I wanted to ask my interviewer. The phone interview was thirty minutes and I was asked about my leadership positions at Rhodes and why I wanted to be a TFA corps member. Next, was the online activity where they provided classroom scenarios that could potentially occur with parents or struggling students and I had to write responses to these. I was then notified that I made it to the final interview day! This day required performing a sample teaching lesson, a group activity with fellow applicants, and a one on one interview.

After each stage, I was even more inspired to join this effort. I actually did not get accepted after the final interview day, but this did not stop me from wanting to continue to look for other educational experiences. I am now looking in to many educational opportunities and jobs.  I am extremely grateful for the Teach for America process as I learned a lot about myself, I was exposed to great interview experiences, and I was able to interact with people who had similar passions.

I will always remember these weeks of applying and how each day I was motivated and moved by the efforts of TFA and other teacher residency programs. I am extremely passionate about children and I am currently a volunteer at Snowden Elementary School. Working with my students is always the highlight of my week even though it is only for one hour. If this one hour, once a week impacts me as much as it does, I definitely know that working with kids is what I want to do as my career as I will get to experience this everyday.  I have Teach for America to thank for opening my eyes to embracing diversity and for motivating me to want to help solve the problem of educational injustice.

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Posted in: Education