About Teach For America

Why We Work

All kids deserve the chance to reach their full potential, and we believe an excellent education is the most effective way to give them that chance. However, millions of children growing up in poverty lack access to a high-quality education. As a result, just 6 percent of kids in the bottom tenth of income levels will graduate from college, compared with 61 percent from the top tenth. This not only limits students’ life opportunities, but families, communities, and our nation as a whole suffer when vast numbers of children fall behind.

Teach For America is playing a role in eliminating this injustice by recruiting, developing, and supporting leaders committed to creating change. These individuals, called corps members, begin their path with a two-year commitment to teach in low-income urban and rural public schools. Deeply affected by their experience in the classroom, they join our alumni network and continue to advocate for students from many different roles in education and other fields.

How We Work

  • We recruit diverse recent college graduates and professionals with demonstrated leadership ability to teach for a minimum of two years in low-income public schools.
  • We provide intensive training and support so they can have an immediate positive impact on students and deepen their own understanding of what it takes to dramatically increase student achievement.
  • We foster their leadership as alumni who work in education and other professional sectors.

Pre-classroom Training

  • Pre-summer independent work
  • Regional staff-led onboarding
  • Summer training

Institute is Teach For America’s seven-week pre-service training in which new corps members learn essential teaching frameworks, curricula, lesson planning skills, and strategies to build relationships within their school and community—all while teaching summer school students. While at institute, corps members work with experienced teachers who observe and coach them to improve their skills quickly throughout the summer.

Since 2013 Teach For America—Memphis has hosted a fully region-based pre-service training allowing our team to design a complete two-year arc of development for corps members. By training Memphis corps members in the same city where they will be teaching, our team is able to acclimate corps members to the Memphis education landscape, more accurately align corps members’ summer school teaching assignments with their fall placements, and help corps members build relationships and access resources in the city for their students. In addition to all of this, our corps members are charged with unique and incredibly important responsibility of giving students in Memphis a summer school experience they would not of otherwise had.

Ongoing Regional Support

Coach, professional development, and support during the corps.
All corps members receive year-round professional development that builds upon their pre-classroom training. Specific structures vary by placement region, but generally include:

  • Observations and one-on-one coaching from a teacher coach
  • Access to resources and advice, including our online resource exchange, TFANet
  • Content- or grade-specific learning teams led by experienced teachers
  • University certification and/or master’s degree programs that offer additional skill-building and support

Career and leadership development resources for alumni
We provide targeted career and leadership support through initiatives in social entrepreneurship and teacher, school, school system,and school board leadership. Through our partner organization, Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), we offer leadership development in policy, advocacy, organizing, and government.