What is Teach for America?

Teach for America is a nonprofit organization in the United States that welcomes new teachers every year. The organization offers a program that sends teachers with less experience into fields that desperately need help. Though you may apply after obtaining your teaching license, you can also apply right out of college. The organization will help you obtain your teaching license. Teachers must agree to remain in the program for two years after signing up, and a large number of teachers come back after their contracts expire.

What the Program Does

Though government funds keep public schools open, many schools in both rural and urban areas have a difficult time finding teachers willing to work in those areas. Teach for America started out as a nonprofit organization committed to finding teachers for schools in need. Urban schools may have a hard time finding teachers because the areas around those schools have a high crime rate or a large number of residents below the poverty line. Some rural districts are so small that schools have classes with fewer than 10 students and still not have enough resources for all those students.

How to Apply

To apply for a spot within this program, you must fill out the online application. The official website states that the application must include a copy of your most recent resume, a short description of your educational background, some basic personal information and a statement of no more than 300 words that answers a question given on the application. You will then need to sign up for an interview and attend an interview session. The organization asks that you create a short lesson plan that you can explain and describe in five minutes. You’ll also need to bring your college transcript and some other paperwork.

Education Voucher Benefits

One of the benefits of signing up for this program is that the organization will give you education vouchers. These vouchers let you pay for any educational expenses you had in the past or will have in the future. You can use the voucher to pay for graduate courses or for the licensing exam in your state. The organization also allows you to use those vouchers as payment on your student loans. As you work for the organization, you’ll also receive regular paychecks.

Other Benefits of the Program

This organization partners new teachers with schools and districts in need. Once you accept a teaching position and move to that new area, the school will pay you the same salary it pays all new teachers. You can use that money to pay your rent, pay off student loans and cover other expenses. As you work for the organization, you’ll have the chance to improve some of your skills too. You’ll learn how to communicate with your students and other teachers, how to get your students to focus on the work at hand and how to create and grade new assignments based on the work you do in the classroom.

Education students have different opportunities open to them after graduation. While some immediately enroll in graduate school, others spend some time working in local schools before going back to school. Teach for America offers an alternative for those who want to gain more experience because it allows college graduates to teach in rural and urban schools.

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