What is Teach for America?

Lifka with former classmates at a high school in Covington, Kentucky. Photo credit: Stephanie Valencia

By Stephanie Valencia ‘17

 

Have you ever stood next to a teacher’s door, looked at their name tag, and noticed a line stating “Teach for America” and then the city they did TFA in? Have you ever wondered what Teach for America(TFA) actually is?

Teach for America is a non-profit organization that “recruits diverse individuals to become teachers in low-income communities.” This is a two year program in which Corps Members, the people applying for the job, teach for two years at schools partnered with Teach for America.

Even teachers at Pritzker have done TFA before becoming teachers at Pritzker. Alison Lifka, Multicultural Literature instructor,  is one of them. Lifka did her two years at a school in Covington, Kentucky. She stated, “teach for America led me to realize what I cared about as a teacher […] I developed many opinions on what the landscape of education should look like for students to reach their potential.”

Other teachers have different experiences but can generally describe their experience as “challenging.”

At times, many students take their education for granted. Students at Pritzker often complain about all the work given and how stressful our lives have become, but we fail to realize that we are provided with teachers who really care for our education and try to do what they can, so students reach their full potential.

Katie Curtin, the Journalism teacher at Pritzker, also did TFA in Philadelphia for three years  before coming to Chicago. “I was blown away with the terrible education students were receiving compared to what I received in a suburban public school… that was why I applied to TFA.”

Teach for America opens new doors for many people who are fresh out of college. It creates connections between people from all over the United States, and allows for those who completed the course to realize how teachers really put an effort in everything they do.