How TFA works: anyone with a bachelor’s degree, a 2.5 GPA, and US citizenship can apply to teach anything from ECE to ESL to calculus for two years in one of 48 low income regions across the county. TFA’s mission is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive an equally excellent education. The expectation is that after I finish my two years I’ll move into whatever field interests me to fight on behalf of my students.
In preparation, and because TFA doesn’t require an education background, all corps members (CMs) spend 5-6 weeks in intense training the summer before you head into the classroom. You spend one week at induction in your region getting to know everyone in your corps, then together you all travel to institute. Your first week at institute is all training, but weeks 2-5 are a combination of teaching in the morning and training in the afternoon. I’m at Atlanta Institute, which is based at Georgia Tech. We live in dorms and eat in the dining hall. It’s weird. ATL hosts the South Carolina, Greater New Orleans, Southwest Ohio, and Metro Atlanta corps. Atlanta is handled separately, but SC, GNO, and SWO are all intermingled. We teach at 11 different low-performing schools across Atlanta. There’s 50 CMs at my high school, and there we’re split into four CMA (corps member advisor) groups based on content area. I’m with 9 other secondary math teachers. Within that group of 10, we’re split into pairs (called collabs) to team-teach a class for the summer. Everyday, I teach our one lesson, followed by my collab who teaches another lesson. While she teaches, I support teach by checking students understanding of material and passing out papers and such. When we aren’t teaching, the four CMA groups (math, science, social studies and ELA which stands for English language arts) come together for big group sessions about teaching. These are usually led by our CS (curriculum specialist), but sometimes we have an LS (literacy specialist) speak. Every morning starts with a pep talk from our SD (school director). Sometimes a CMA will lead a DCA (diversity, community, and achievement) session. All of these acronyms are people who are TFA alumni, hired by TFA to work at institute for the summer.
I hope this clarifies my life here a little maybe???