« What we can learn by watching others | Main | Summer Dilemma: The TFA Institute, The Family, & The lack of cash »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Hmm I agree with a lot of what you said! I only fit a few of the stereotypes you listed so I'm hoping I'm not a cookie cutter of what they look for :S But I am very proud and excited to have been accepted

However, I have talked with some local teachers in the Boston area who have worked or had TFA CMs in their schools, and one big factor is that TFA focuses SO MUCH on the educational gap and improving test scores that often times it comes off as being a very one-track mindset for CMs. I've been working in an elementary school this year and I've never once heard anything about teaching to improve test scores or stats in the district. Granted it's not a very low income community, but it is a school made up of students of low-income families.

Also, I think that a lot of applicants currently are not as passionate about teaching as they come off as. Since the prestige of TFA has gone up tremendously in recent years as you said (with Ivy League and high GPA applicants), I feel that some apply solely for the resume boost and networking for the future. I myself am very passionate about teaching and had I not been accepted I still would have went into the teaching field. But I feel that where the stereotypes are formed comes from individuals as you said, in a sharp suit and tie and looking to fix the country's problems, but lack any sense of drive to actually teach well.

I think TFA should become more selective in choosing applicants already geared SOMEWHAT into going into a teaching or educational field. In my opinion, if you went to business school, chances are you'll find a good starting job out of college anyway, you might as well save TFA for an education major who most likely won't find a teaching job right out of undergrad and is at least passionate to teach and make a difference...

Elena Schilder

Some really interesting insights, here, Wes, as usual.

I wanted to make sure you saw the last installment in the TFA series, a little group interview with all the characters. They talk about some of the stuff you touch on above.

Watch here: http://bit.ly/alZyIU.

Thanks again, and keep in touch!


I like your thinking Wes. I'm not really a cookie cutter CM (immigrant single mother, pell grant, attended school outside the US News top 40), and I know you aren't either. I suspect you may find it hard to relate to some of the experiences that many of your peers have.

That being said, this is tricky water for TFA. The strength of the TFA brand comes from the idea that CMs are NOT like everybody else. They are "The Elite". The entire program depends on that idea.

Certainly it would be interesting to read blogs/hear the stories of the few CMs that come from outside that mold completely. There really aren't many CMs over 30 (I met about 1,000 CMs during my two Institutes, and recall less than 5 who weren't near college age), but there are dozens of married ones, or who bring non-Yale life experiences to the table. Perhaps the group could do a better job playing those up.

Adventure Racing

Great article! It's informative and useful. Keep it up!

Marathon 10k

Nice post! It's really influential and inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing and keep it up!


Need to get of a viable and competitive with Harvard Law is longer necessary, or rather, does not require active marketing.

הקמת בריכות שחיה

I understand that the traditional teacher has set through a two year curriculum is a bit upset that all this praise is bestowed upon a passionate involvement.

The comments to this entry are closed.