By Ariel Bloomer '12, Staff Writer
While most of the senior class has yet to secure post- graduation plans, six Scripps seniors already know their plans for the next two years—they’ve been accepted to Teach for America (TFA), a national non-profit that takes exceptional college graduates and places them as teachers in some of America’s highest-need schools.
Regional Recruiter Madeline Robertson-Salt spends time talking with Scripps students as they consider how TFA may fit within their larger career goals. Robertson- Salt stresses that TFA recruiters look for strong leaders who wish to commit themselves to issues of social justice, education and equity. She said that Scripps students are unique because they “are thinking about their positions as role models in their fields.” Especially in traditionally male-dominated areas, like math and science,“young girls having role models, teachers, leaders... is really impactful.”
Scripps’ Core program often influences some Scripps students who join TFA. “I took Professor Thierry Boucquey’s Culture and Language Teaching Core III course, which gave me a good taste of what it feels like to plan lessons and engage with students,” said Maggie Pettit (’08). “It takes a lot of energy!” Pettit taught fourth grade at a Dual Immersion Academy in Denver, Colorado during her two years with TFA. Pettit studied abroad for a full year in Argentina and Mexico. “As a bilingual applicant, I had a lot more options when it came to applying for teaching positions. I used my Spanish skills daily with my students and especially with their families at my placement school.”
Psychology major Seline Paulino (’12) said, “I decided to apply to TFA because I want to help kids that no one seems to be fighting for.” Paulino will be teaching early elementary school in Miami, Fla., an area “known for having really bad public schools.” Politics and international relations major KC Mautner (’12) gave similar reasons for applying: “I truly believe that educational inequity is one of the most pressing issues facing the U.S. today, and as much as is possible for one individual, I want to be part of the solution to that gross injustice.” Mautner plans to continue teaching beyond the two-year TFA contract, making her placement as a secondary English teacher in New Orleans just the beginning of a career in the classroom.
Maggie Dickman (’12), a Hispanic studies major, also plans to continue teaching after TFA. “I believe that one of the most important parts in closing the achievement gap and creating more education equality is a committed teacher.” Her elementary education placement will bring her back to her hometown of Denver, Colo.
Other future TFA corps members include Jody Goldberg (’12), an anthropology major who will teach special education in Las Vegas, Nev.; LeeAnn Allen (’12), a biochemistry major who will teach math in Memphis, Tenn.; and Antoinette Myers (’12), dual major in politics and international relations and Latin American studies, who will teach special education in Hawaii. “Teaching special education will no doubt be a challenge and accountability to the safety, health, and academic goals of my future students is absolutely key,” said Myers about her assignment.
For juniors who might be thinking about TFA: start researching now. Hannah Peter (’11), currently teaching Pre-Kindergarten in Palo Alto, Calif, advises that a prospective TFA applicant should “talk to as many people as possible who have been corps members. No two TFA experiences are the same.” Robertson-Salt, also a TFA alumna, echoes those sentiments; “It’s a very individual journey.” she said. The application process can be daunting, and the work itself exhausting, but teaching has its rewards. For Peter, it is “watching [the] kids master something new and honestly, just getting to spend time with them.”