At a Teach for America information session held on Tuesday in Palladium residence hall’s multipurpose room, recruiter Ashley Morris discussed the benefits of getting involved with the nonprofit organization.
“We are living in a country where the zip code into which you are born determines the opportunities you will have,” Morris said.
Morris recounted a story in which parents, desperate to get their children into one of 20 available spots at an elementary charter school, slept in tents outside the school for an entire weekend and waited for the doors to open so their children could have a decent opportunity to receive an education.
With that anecdote, she encouraged attending students to get involved with TFA.
“If this boils your blood, apply to Teach for America,” Morris said.
Last year Sindhu Lakshmanan, a CAS senior at the time, was motivated to act after she learned about the organization from a recruiter. Lakshmanan applied and is now a member of the TFA corps, teaching high school English in Detroit, Mich.
Lakshmanan is upfront about her experience thus far. She was the first to admit that it has not been easy.
“This is the hardest thing you will ever do, but it is still so worth it,” she said.
Still, despite significant challenges, Lakshmanan has never regretted her choice. The rewards are real, such as when students point to her as their source of inspiration.
“A student told me, ‘I started writing because of you,’” Lakshmanan said. “Hearing this was validation.”
Like Lakshmanan, Morris did not gloss over the realities of the TFA experience.
As a first-year teacher, Morris was thrown into a sixth grade classroom where only 33 percent of her students could identify the United States on a world map.
“This will be the hardest thing you will ever do,” she told students at Tuesday’s information session. “But it is also one of the very few opportunities to put children on a literally different trajectory from when they entered your classroom.”
CAS senior Tatiana Reeves comes from a family of teachers, who taught her about TFA. Tuesday’s information session struck a real chord with her, and she plans to apply.
“I feel like I want to give back, and it’s a really great way to do it because the best way to strengthen our country is to provide education to all children,” Reeves said.
TFA accepts applicants from all majors and academic backgrounds. The program is a two-year commitment and primarily aids low-income communities throughout the United States.
Laura Entis is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.
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