A national organization for educational equality will attend the career fair on Tuesday, Oct. 24, in search of committed, leadership-minded college graduates to teach in needy public schools.
Esther Hahm, recruitment director for Teach for America (TFA), last month distributed applications at informational sessions on Main Campus.
“I wanted to do something different, something that would expose me to working with people across the economic and ethnic spectrum,” Hahm said. “I wanted to be part of a community. I wanted to teach, though I wasn’t certified, and this chance was given to me by Teach for America.”
“I was drawn in by the power of their mission statement,” she continued. “That ‘one day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.’ This was inspiring to me.”
The organization chooses 900 new members each year. Members spend five weeks in summer training. They gain experience in the classroom with the aid of veteran teachers before being sent to one of 15 sites across the United States.
Participants of TFA are paid the same as beginning teachers; annual salaries range from $21,000 to $36,000.
TFA also has partnerships with the Corporation for National Service and AmeriCorps, which allows members to receive a $4,725 stipend for each year of service.
Hahm believes that the greatest benefits, however, lie elsewhere: “It’s not about the educational system, it’s not about fulfilling a teacher need. It’s about the kids.”
Helping to promote Teach for America at Temple University is senior Anthropology major Allison Male, who acts as campus coordinator.
“I think the TFA program is a great way for recent graduates to help the lower income communities that have difficulty filling teaching positions in their classrooms,” Male said. “I want knowledge about the program to be more accessible to our student population so the program can grow through continual university and student support.”
“People are just finding out about us,” Hahm said, “but what I’m finding is that when I tell people about this opportunity, I see a glint in their eyes and they’re like, ‘wow, this might be something I could possibly do.’ I’m finding a lot of people who are smart, who are talented, people who are excited about going to a different part of the country, people looking for something that is off the beaten path.”
Besides being discovered at college campuses across the United States, Teach for America has received national attention since the Oct. 3 presidential debate between Republican candidate, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and Democratic candidate, Vice President Al Gore. Bush pointed to TFA as an example of a school system that works in Texas at the Kipp Academy site in Houston.
Students interested in joining Teach for America can fill out applications at the career fair, or online at www.teachforamerica.org. The first application deadline is Oct. 30.