Teach for America: Top employer for 2013
By Matt Mitterhoff ‘16 & Samantha Praman-Linton ‘16
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 15:02
With 13 job offers to the Class of 2013, and possibly more to come, Teach for America (TFA) is the top employer for this year’s graduating class.
TFA Recruitment Manager for Pennsylvania Colleges Sean Healey said Lafayette students have acquired the skills that TFA looks for. “Our approach at TFA is that ‘Change must come from inside the classroom and from leaders in many different sectors,’” Healey said. “We think that Lafayette has these leaders. A lot of seniors are applying and being accepted to the program.”
It’s not an isolated event. Since 2009, TFA has extended employment offers to 31 students.
TFA employs graduates straight out of college for two years to work as teachers and operates in 46 regions around the nation, helping school districts hire teachers that have been educated in specialized backgrounds. TFA does not specifically employ education majors, but instead provides new teachers with support and guidance and looks for employees with academic success along with an ability to communicate and a passion for helping others.
Associate Director of Employer Relations in Career Services Nanette Cooley believes that Lafayette students “want to serve the greater good” and that TFA provides an opportunity to do so.
“Through programs like Landis and exposure through volunteer teaching at local Easton-area schools, Lafayette students have the skills and are well-prepared for working efficiently for TFA,” Cooley said.
Students at Lafayette became interested in TFA for a variety of reasons. Senior Erin Duggan is one of the students who will be working with the organization after graduation, though teaching was not always her primary career choice. She became interested after interning with the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley through AmeriCorps, where she helped run a preschool literacy program in a in a low-income area of Allentown.
“TFA was an amazing opportunity for me to smoothly transition into teaching with a non-teaching degree,” Duggan said.
Alumna Jennifer Cotennec accepted an offer in 2011 and is currently teaching for Kansas City Public Schools in Missouri. Planning to go into the Peace Corps in Africa after graduation, she was nervous about leaving the country for over two years. Cotennec knew she wanted to work with kids though, so she began to research other programs in the U.S., and eventually found TFA. A psychology major, Cotennec felt motivated to find a job with an aspect of social outreach.
“Things that I had looked at while I was in my undergraduate years at Lafayette were school psychology, counseling, and social work,” she said.
Cotennec concludes her two-year tenure with Teach for America at the end of this school year, but she has signed a contract with Kansas City Public Schools to teach a kindergarten class for another year.
“I love my job and I love the children that I work with,” she said. “It is a very difficult job, but I would choose the same path that I had taken if I could go back and do it all again.”
The final deadline for the 2013 TFA corps passed on February 15, but more Lafayette students could be accepted in the coming months.