College Reporter interviews F&M alumna about Teach for America program

By Ruby Van Dyk || Layout Assistant

This year, 16 Franklin & Marshall College alumni join a diverse network of more than 56,000+ leaders nationwide, who will be serving as Teach for America corps members. This puts F&M amongst the top small colleges and universities who contributed graduates to the 2018 group of Teach for America leaders.

Founded in 1989, Teach for America is a non-profit organization that trains college graduates and then assigns them to classrooms in underprivileged school districts.“Teach For America is a leadership development organization that supports young leaders to use their talents to end educational inequity in our country. Our approach to doing this is to develop and harness the collective impact of our nation’s highest potential leaders so that they are best positioned to lead our country towards the systemic-level change needed to eradicate educational inequity. During the corps, your alumni will develop their leadership skills through teaching and make an immediate impact on kids and communities,” said Isabelle Shanafelt, an employee of TFA.

Teach for America provides a wonderful opportunity for graduates looking to make an impact on children’s lives, who might not want to immediately go to graduate school. In order to apply for TFA, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of a 2.5. If accepted, corps members commit to teaching for two years. They are put through extensive training and coaching, then assigned to a classroom of students in a K-12 of one of the 52 low-income communities that the organization serves. Students are considered faculty of the school and are paid standard teaching salaries.

 

Becca Jacoby, class of ‘18 is one of the 16 members from last spring’s graduating class who joined TFA. Becca was recruited to Teach for America and was placed in Memphis, Tennessee, where she is now teaching a class of third-graders.

“I decided to do TFA because the mission of all kids deserving a good education no matter what their ethnic, racial or socioeconomic background really spoke to me. I am a firm believer that education really is the most powerful tool anyone can arm themselves with,” said Becca.

Many people join Teach for America in order to gain experience in the education field as for future teachers or educators. But in order to do TFA you don’t necessarily need to have plans to be a teacher. For Becca, learning about education as a system is something she’s looking forward to as well. She “hope[s] to gain a better understanding of what education looks like in our country and specifically where deficits exist.”

But, along with creating fantastic educators, Teach for America participants have gone on to be senators, circuit judges, journalists, education commissioners and more. As F&M grads continue to do Teach for America, we see F&M continue to produce our future educators and leaders.

Seniors interested in TFA are encouraged to meet with F&M’s on campus recruiter, Ibrahim Morton. The next upcoming deadline to submit applications is December 5th.

Sophomore Ruby Van Dyk is a layout assistant. Her email is rvandyk@fandm.edu

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