Teach For America

129 reviews

Teach For America Employee Reviews

  • Job Work/Life Balance
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Job Work/Life Balance
Salary/Benefits
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Intense, physically and mentally demanding job in a low-income area
High School Physics Teacher (Current Employee), Chicago, ILMarch 10, 2014
Pros: rewarding, important work. work with adolescents, have the opportunity to truly make an impact on many lives
Cons: very short breaks, 80+ hour work weeks, limited teacher's union (charter school), emotionally charged job
My work hours on a day-to-day basis are from 7:15 am--4:45 pm. I usually arrive to work around 6:45 am, and do not leave until about 5:30. I physically teach students from 9:30 -- 4:00 PM, with one 25-minute lunch (and 3 minute passing periods). Outside of these times, I spend my time planning, designing and creating Physics curriculum resources from scratch, attending professional development sessions, collaborating with other teachers, and grading. Although I leave work at 5:30 pm, I normally will put in at least 2-3 more hours of work at home.

Teaching has been one of the most difficult endeavors I've undertaken, and fighting through these challenges on a daily basis has taught me innumerable lessons. One of the most important of which is the value of "grit." I believe that teaching is one of the most difficult, rewarding, and sometimes unforgiving exercises in leadership. I graduated with a degree in Biology from UCLA and was given a Physics classroom at a charter school in urban south Chicago. I am provided no curriculum, and no textbook. I had close to no lab resources at my disposal. Every single thing, from every lesson to every handout to every lab, had to be designed and implemented by me. As a teacher, I looked at myself as a leader of 190 students who required a great science education, regardless of my position as a first-year teacher. I tied my success directly to their achievement. This attitude taught me so much about the finer details of leadership, and I believe that the lessons I learned can be applied to every workplace, regardless of my position.

Despite – more... the position that I've been placed in, I've been able to experience success at various times. I regularly have received positive reviews from my superiors, and I have been the first teacher to last at the Physics position for longer than a year (most do not complete even one year at this school). Amidst the stress of being held accountable by 190 students on a daily basis, there are times that I truly enjoy my work. Given all that I try to teach my students, I've realized that I can often learn from them. Their smiles and positive energy is a reminder to my older, sometimes more cynical self, that life is meant to be enjoyed. – less
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Training Intensive Program with a Strong Social-Political Statement
Early Childhood Education Teacher (Former Employee), Chicago, ILAugust 15, 2014
Pros: supportive learning environment for first year educators
Cons: healthcare
A typical training day in Teach For America begins at 7:30 am at my school training site. At my school site from 7:30-7:45, I would begin preparing materials for pre-k students to arrive. I taught and co-taught half days, which meant at 1 pm I would leave my school site for professional development. From 1pm to 6pm would begin PD covering a wide range of topics from TALK strategies, Head Start Regulations, Unit Planning, Creative Curriculum, lesson planning, behavioral management practices including the No Non-sense Nurturer approach, and GOLD objectives. The last part of the evening was reserved for socratic seminar discussion on inequities in education, until usually 7 or 8pm.

I learned how to shape my time management skills even tighter than previous experiences, and I learned effective teaching strategies through a rooted philosophy of student led play (pre-K) and teacher objective driven lessons. I worked in a collaborative of four people in a Chicago co-hort of close to forty corps members. Each member of my collaborative brought unique skills to the table to learn from, and as a group we collaborated on classroom decisions. The most difficult part of the job was in collaborating on classroom decisions, as each of us were training to become lead teachers. The most enjoyable part of the job was every morning for me, when my students would arrive. In a pre-K environment at a community based organization parents are often required to enter the room in the morning. The relationships built with the parents were often the key to a successful day for each student. The morning – more... arrival was my favorite part of my day because I could gauge from parents and students what each student was going to need that particular day, in order for it to be a successful day academically and emotionally. – less
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Highly rewarding, able to work with motivated individuals
National Curriculum Writer 8th Grade Math (Current Employee), Dallas, TXMarch 9, 2015
My typical day consisted of developing materials for the classroom, collecting data to drive instruction, partnering with parents and administration to create a strong network of support for students. I learned how to prioritize and be flexible, because in a school day anything can happen. I also learned how to allow data to drive instruction and make decisions based on concrete evidence. Additionally, I learned that the education system is suffering and really needs highly motivated issues in the classroom to tackle to day-to-day battles that as associated with teaching. The hardest part of my job was dealing with the impossible: trying to reach a student who, to others, seemed unreachable. It was also very rewarding to work creatively and collaboratively with other teachers to reach low-motivated students. Once we started seeing improvements in their behavior and attitude, we began to see improvements in the classroom. That was by far the hardest but also most rewarding part of my job.
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Great place to work if you aren't ambitious
Assistant (Former Employee), RemoteJune 6, 2015
Pros: travel, hours
Cons: wages, co-workers, management
No two days are the same, however there are a standard group of core tasks that you reflect. While working here I noticed that professional development and advancement of employees is greater for those who are alumni of TFA. My manager went from corps to ED and wasn't great at building relationships with staff or navigating without bias. My co-workers were either great friends/allies or self-centered and unwilling to work towards the greater mission.

The hardest part of the job is working towards professional development and advancement only to realize that positions were created with other people in mind who are alumni. The other hard part of the work is working with someone who had no plan, vision, or communication skills, but expected you to read their mind and anticipate their needs. The job allows a lot of travel for professional development which is great for those who like to travel, but can become stressful if you are trying to seek a work/life balance.
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High energy, high expectations
Corps Member - Teacher (Current Employee), Atlanta, GAFebruary 9, 2014
Teach for America (TFA) is a widely respected organization dedicated to creating motivated, effective teachers. I have learned a lot about managing and meeting expectations that come from a variety of supervisors, about accounting for and responding to a range of factors that could possibly effect student performance (in the classroom), and about communicating consistently and clearly with a range of stakeholders (TFA staff, parents, students, coworkers, etc.). I absolutely love the other corps members in Atlanta. We have an unparalleled sense of camaraderie and support, an essential component of pursuing the mutable and demanding career of teaching. However, the lack of unified communication within TFA has been a drawback. Within the barrage of emails sent each day, they never quite seem to align and effectively convey their expectations. Although my experience here has not been an entirely positive one, I would not trade the time that I have spent with my students in the classroom.
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It was great experience working with Teach for America & my team members.
Quality Assurance Analyst (Former Employee), New York, NYDecember 9, 2014
For my last project, I was responsible for writing test cases, test case review, requirements validation, monitoring the execution of manual and automated test case. I prepared test summary report and communicate test status to leaders and prepared corresponding documents. I was also responsible for ensuring project plan changes are incorporated in test plan. I wrote a test plan and test strategy and make sure the work is going according to the test plan. I identified the risks and tried to mitigate them. At the end of project testing life cycle I ensured that all test objectives are accomplished and acceptance criteria was met. I was always focus on handling the challenges in my project so that my team and project will grow and perform well. All my team members and leaders were very co-operative and helpful. All of, the management side was great too.
I learned, challenge is the part of job and always motivate to get new challenges in my life.
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Challenging and fulfilling workplace
Special Education Teacher (Current Employee), New York, NYJune 3, 2012
Children are our future.

Educating children and providing them with the skills needed to create a better tomorrow is the utmost important job in the country. The more we give to the youths in America the better we improve their lives and the lives of others.

Working with young people is one of the toughest and rewarding jobs imaginable. When you are working towards improving someone's life, there is no "off day." As an educator, you must bring your best every day to work. When your lesson drops or your message fails to reach students you cannot give up. You need to communicate, commit, and communicate the fundamental importance of why students are in school and what knowledge really means to them.

In a normal day a teacher is a part-time educator, psychologist, therapist, coach, confidant, family member, and motivator. The connections are heart-wrenching, the obstacles are unforeseen; the rewards are immeasurable, and the impact is life-changing.

Teaching is changing lives.
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Demanding yet meaningful work experience
Chemistry Instructor (Former Employee), Dallas, TXJune 30, 2015
I teach chemistry at Bryan Adams High School, a title one school in the Dallas urban school district where the majority of students are from low socioeconomic areas. This experience, more than any other, has taught me how to connect with someone from a different background on a deeper level, how to listen carefully to the problems someone is having, and how to take care of the varying and individual needs of over two hundred people in a personal, compassionate, and thoughtful manner. Additionally, I strove to become a leader in my community, and induce long lasting transformations in the culture of our school by initiating ACT and college preparatory courses. The result of this work has provided more of our student population with college acceptances and needed scholarship access, thereby changing the trajectory of their futures.
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Extremely goal-orientated environment, with driven colleagues
Corps Member (Current Employee), Los Angeles, CAApril 11, 2012
Pros: excellent support system, good benefits, exceptional training program
Cons: high demand of working hours on weekends
For the past two years, I have worked for the non-profitcorporation, Teach For America, as a corps member and kindergarten teacher in Richmond, California. Through this experience I have developed excellentprofession skills in terms of organization, time management, meeting mandatorydeadlines, and working closely with a wide diversity of people. I work to mold not only the minds of my young students, but to train parents on ways they can support their child's learning as well. In addition, I work closely on several committees at my school, which aim to train my fellow colleagues on innovative ways to present academic content to students of all ages and at all performance levels.
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Working to close the achievement gap!
Corps Member (Former Employee), Philadelphia, PAJune 26, 2015
Selected from over 50,000 applicants nationwide to join the national teacher corps of 5,800 recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced public schools. Participate in intensive training program to develop the skills and knowledge needed to achieve significant gains in student achievement. Teach in a summer school program run by Teach For America for low-income students in the St. Louis Public School District, under the supervision of a faculty of experienced teachers. Engage in a full schedule of professional development activities including seminars, discussion groups, workshops, individual and group reflections, readings, and learning team’s specific to teaching license area.
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A supportive environment that promotes growth in pedagogy and critical thinking
8th-12th grade Spanish Teacher (Former Employee), Chicago, ILApril 11, 2014
Teach for America is a very controversial organization and while I have my own qualms with some ways they choose to handle things, my experience with TFA has been incredibly supportive and challenging in a positive way. There was never a moment where I didn't feel like I had a network of fellow educators to rely on for feedback and encouragement. My placement through TFA proved to be extremely challenging, but I did not feel like I was left alone to fight through it. I appreciated how much energy the organization put into making sure I was growing along with my students so that together we could all create a positive learning environment.
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Great theory awful in reality
corps memeber (Former Employee), Jacksonville, FLNovember 19, 2015
Pros: kids love you
Cons: everything else
Relocated for a position that was ultimately changed 3 times. Ended up teaching in a trailer with no air conditioning, desks, books, or nearby restroom. Expected to teach 9 subjects (two separate subjects during the same class time. example: economics to half the class and English 4 to the other half) Professional development and teacher training took up every weekend leaving no time for personal time. I would estimate 90 hours of work put in weekly.
The problem lies in the impossible schedule and the push to do better with zero tools.
Not every one will experience this but the leadership in Florida was very new and still needs many years of development to be of any help.
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Wonderful Learning Experience with Amazing Purpose/Mission
Secondary English, French, and Journalism Teacher (Former Employee), Miami, FLAugust 24, 2015
This job was one of the most rewarding jobs in all aspects I could have asked for. As my first job out of college, I was looking to give back to society and grow professionally as well. TFA allowed me a tremendous opportunity to do both, with the most esteemed colleagues, a challenging school placement, and the ability to teach subjects I am extremely passionate about. Management was supportive and offered much needed advice and guidance. Training was tough but prepared me well for the years ahead. Overall it was an incredible three years to work with Teach For America and in the Miami Dade Public Schools.
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Corps Member
Corps Member (Former Employee), Charlotte, NCSeptember 1, 2015
Pros: Gained Valuable Information
Cons: Exhaustive Vague Process
A typical day during institute is exhausting. Your day begins at 5:30 am and professionally ends at 4:30 pm. However, you have intensive lesson plans to complete and prepare, which is devoted for the rest of that day. On the other hand, the information that you will recieve regarding academic achievement is some of the most valubale information I have ever learned. There is not a gurantee that you will get placed for sure, if you don't pass the assessments in the small amount of time from when you are notified of the assessment. The most enjoyable part of the position is seeing the student achievement.
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HIGHLY extroverted
Operations Coordinator (Former Employee), Oklahoma City, OKSeptember 5, 2014
Pros: provided meals, housing, compensation, experience
Cons: high-energy, frustrating
Teach for America has a great goal and does wonderful things. However, as an introvert I was very often exhausted by the sheer number of meetings and projects. The people are really passionate, yet I didn't feel as inspired as I had thought I would be. Perhaps as a teacher you would see more change happen; in operations that was hard to see. But I felt like I had to fit into a mold of a character, and I'm not the personality that fits molds.
In addition, tasks were not well-explained to the point where I frequently had to completely start projects over.
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Great Environment
Assistant (Former Employee), Phoenix, AzApril 16, 2015
Pros: Flexible with hours, Great experience
Cons: No cons
Working for TFA has taught me to be a team player. Also, working for this job has taught me to file paper work and follow up on calls. TFA was the greatest experience that I could've ever been apart of. In addition to this, I also made calls to future teachers to make sure that they had their paper work to be eligible for a position as a teacher.

This job has also taught me time management. Time management was the key to this job because everything had to be done in a specific time frame of the day.

I enjoyed everything about this job; from the work environment to working all day there.
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Not a good Work- life balance, heavy work loads with long hours
Associate, District & School Partnerships (Current Employee), Memphis, TNJanuary 11, 2015
Pros: no work life balance
Cons: great benefits! good money! great cause!
Very heavy work load that they don't reveal to you until after you accept the job. The people are great, and the company has great benefits and they are very involved in the community. They take part in all kinds of projects in Memphis. The most enjoyable part about the job is the people you work with. The hardest part of the job is dealing with the volume of work with quick turnaround deadlines. Management is great and they are big on promoting and developing people within the company.
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challenging but rewarding experience in education
Corps Member, Elementary School Teacher (Former Employee), Atlanta, GAAugust 14, 2012
Taught elementary school to underprivileged students in Atlanta

Pros – The culture of the staff is uplifting and helpful. Every person in the organization is working towards the same mission, which brings all corps members and staff members closer together. Everyday challenges you, but you are constantly building knowledge, skills, abilities, as well as relationships with students and coworkers.

Cons – You will likely be working long hours in order to reach goals; however, TFA emphasizes only working in working hours as they stress balance.
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Extremely disorganized
Teacher/ESL Coordinator (Former Employee), Camden, NJJuly 28, 2015
Pros: Americorps education award
Cons: No work-life balance
Teachers should expect to be in difficult school situations, but most of the "support" provided by TFA just added increased stress without providing any real solutions for improving in the classroom. Some teachers were placed in schools where they were threatened and/or assaulted.

The organization teaches you to be suspicious of the teachers in any school your work in, and there is a heavy emphasis on designing assessments for TFA to use, rather than on other professional development.

No work-life balance whatsoever.
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Great personal and professional development with excellent people working toward one vision
ELA Learning Team Leader (Current Employee), ArkansasFebruary 2, 2014
As a Learning Team Leader with Teach for America - Arkansas and online Content Coach for TFANet through Teach for America national, I have enjoyed expanding my content knowledge in ELA, ultimately making me a better teacher and learning in the process. I have worked with excellent people and have been managed in an excellent way. Everyone pushes me to be the best version of myself, and is willing to coach me to reach my goals. Everyone is also working for students and student achievement constantly.
Claimed Profile
Headquarters
424 E. 92nd St.
New York NY, United States 10128
Revenue
$5m to $25m (CAD)
Employees
201 to 500
Industry
Links
Teach For America website