GU Among Top Four TFA Contributors
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 02:09
This year’s crop of Teach for America corps members comes from universities around the country, but an especially high number of new teachers for the 2013-2014 school year came from Georgetown, which sent the second-most number of graduates to the program.
Georgetown, which sent 40 graduates to TFA, tied with the University of Pennsylvania for the second-place spot. Harvard University and Vanderbilt University, which each sent 45 graduates to join the 5,900-member corps, tied for first.
Over TFA’s 23-year history placing corps members as teachers in low-income communities, exactly 525 Georgetown alumni have participated in the two-year program.
“Many of the students interested in TFA have demonstrated a dedication to volunteerism, leadership and service activities during their time at Georgetown and seek out ways to continue serving others after graduation,” Cawley Career Education Center Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Kelly Burns said.
Although the Career Center does not specifically recruit students for TFA beyond holding information sessions, several campus offices often recommend students to apply to the program. For example, Eric Begoun (SFS ’12), a TFA member who teaches seventh and eighth grade English in Baltimore, was recruited through the Center for Social Justice at Georgetown, where he worked as an After School Kids mentor and as an Alternative Spring Break leader.
Others, like DJ Wise (COL ’13) and Michael Fischer (SFS ’13) applied to the program based on recommendations from recent alumni.
“Hearing very honestly and frankly from TFA alumni what they’ve learned, how they’ve grown and how their assignment shaped them in ways they didn’t expect was by far the biggest apparatus that was working with me as I applied,” said Fischer, who teaches students between the ages of 16 to 19 at an alternative continuing school in San Jose, Calif.
“I wanted to do something impactful when I graduated,” said Wise, who teaches ninth and 11th grade English in Las Vegas. “I heard about TFA from recruiters on campus and other friends who had joined the organization.”
Begoun said Georgetown’s competitive atmosphere prepared him for TFA.
“The ability to be involved in many activities while participating in a rigorous academic setting helped me to transition more easily than some of my peers into the difficult balance of work, planning, human interaction and graduate coursework through TFA,” Begoun said.
Fischer emphasized dialogical skills developed at Georgetown as essential to engaging his students.
“[Georgetown] gave me a tool set that allowed me to think, reflect and engage with people when I didn’t come from their background and couldn’t possibly imagine their experience,” Fischer said.
The TFA experience, for some, pays off most through the relationships formed with students.
“One of my students the other day told me that Georgetown was her dream school. She is just a freshman right now, and she already knows where she wants to go to school,” Wise said. “I’m more determined than ever now to ensure that she and other students of mine can attend a school like Georgetown when they graduate.”