Teach for America

  www.teachforamerica.org
  www.teachforamerica.org

Teach for America Reviews

Updated December 20, 2014
Updated December 20, 2014
426 Reviews
3.8
426 Reviews
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Matthew Kramer & Elisa Villanueva Beard
63 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • opportunities for professional development and taking on big jobs early in one's career (in 52 reviews)

  • It's nice to know that you're making a difference in people's lives (in 14 reviews)


Cons
  • The work/life balance involved in the corps commitment is a significant challenge (in 45 reviews)

  • Long hours and work/personal life balance can be difficult as a first year (in 31 reviews)

More Highlights

18 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Smart people, but not recommended

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Managing Director
    Former Employee - Managing Director

    I worked at Teach for America (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    TFA attracts very motivated, intelligent people with a diverse array of experiences. It makes work interesting and challenging. It's very flexible and people can work remotely without problem.

    Cons

    Management is an absolute mess. There is a constant revolving door, especially people in senior leadership positions. I personally had 6 managers during my time at TFA in just under 3 years. There is little to no mentorship or coaching. The culture feels like a sorority or cult - where you have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way and be upbeat and happy all the time. It can be an uncomfortable place to work if you don't fit. Drinking the koolaid is a real thing and questioning or seeking to modify/improve programmatic structure/goals/data is not welcomed. Do not work here if you seek to improve the program. You will also work long hours - usually on busy work that won't amount to much. Pay isn't great, in comparison to competitors. It's hard to get more than a 3% raise annually.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get out of your own way.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Damaging to teachers (TFA and others) as well as students

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Teach for America

    Pros

    None what so ever. As the "Racial Privacy Act" sounded like a good use of words, it harmed so many Californians. Same with the dribble spewed out by TFA. Only non thinkers, people who have never been poor or racialized or are Uncle To--I mean Clarence Thomas-ing it, can stomach this deeply racist agenda.

    Cons

    Overtly racist. Horrible to all people of color or poor people--CMA's, students, real teachers. Is a cult that unfortunately is deceiving the American public in the same way the Koch Brothers are. This is a right wing Walmart fed, racist organization that hurts deeply anyone interested in thinking. Do NOT let your child sign up, either as a student or a CM, (they make up answers as they are not trained in the subjects they teach.) It is Birth of a Nation all over again. And none of the CMA's cannot put together a proper English sentence. They hold white male support groups to make themselves feel better. VERY Klan-ny.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Read a newspaper.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3.  

    Tears For America

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Teach for America

    Pros

    - Great (albeit idealistic) vision

    Cons

    - Unrealistic expectations
    - Zero support and guidance
    - Blind leading the blind in regards to MTLD-corps member relationships
    - No care or concern for corps members
    - No work-life balance whatsoever

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out whether you want to be an education equity advocacy organization or an organization that works to develop strong teachers to teach in low-income schools.

    Doesn't Recommend
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  5.  

    No support or Guidance

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Teach for America

    Pros

    None except to meet others from interesting schools

    Cons

    Poorly organzied with little to no support or guidance on what is expected or tools such as curriculum to enable learning. This has been such an unrewarding experience I cannot wait to see it end.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Why are you here? How are you even accepted into the schools you are participating in?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6.  

    Desperate or Desire?

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Teacher
    Former Employee - Teacher

    I worked at Teach for America full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Perfect problem-solving and communication skills
    insight on Education in urban America
    Networking
    become leader in community

    Cons

    Lack of support - the emotional aspect is very hard to deal with
    Being assigned where you aren't qualified
    Will feel that you're always behind
    Will feel that only success stories get more support or attention

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recruit less corp members and focus on building close to one-on-one relationships in classrooms

    Better if incoming corp member shadows a teacher first before entering and teaching a class. Not all corp members are successful

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    My Year of Psychological Abuse (and they couldn't care less about the kids)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - TFA Corps Member in Baltimore, MD
    Former Employee - TFA Corps Member in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Teach for America full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    You get a job that provides health insurance for a low cost with a low co-pay- a very good thing when you're constantly getting sick (see cons for more information)

    Cons

    Be prepared to work 70 to 80-hour workweeks during summer institute and 50-60 hours a week during the school year- there will not only be the classroom teaching but tons of workshops, many of which are pointless. It will be very taxing and even if you're generally healthy, brace yourself to get sick- a lot. It's impossible to stay healthy when you have no time for yourself. I was sick more often my year of TFA than the past several years combined.

    I also wish it was possible to give 0 stars for work/life balance. There is none. TFA practically makes you sell your soul to them. Be prepared to get castigated if you're caught doing anything non-TFA during summer institute- not that you have time to even breathe.

    Also, it's made very obvious that many people in the organization value becoming wealthy above the well-being of the students. For instance, my principal (a past CM and avid TFA supported) lumped all of my students into the low-level class for the following year- I had to fight on behalf of several of them to get them out of the low-level tracking. Students performing at "advanced proficient" level across the board in reading and "proficient" to "advanced proficient" in the various math sections of the final state benchmark test of the year should not be tossed into a class of low-performers.

    Finally and most disturbingly, TFA is very hostile to CMs who dare criticize them in any regard. If you say anything or make any suggestions, or try to explain that the reason you struggle to stay awake in workshops is you didn't sleep much, they will threaten you with expulsion. Question anything they do? Expulsion threats. Oh, by the way you're not permitted to exercise constitutional rights such as assembly and protest- they explicitly state in the contract that you will be expelled if they find out you've participated in a protest or similar activities. Make sure you read every part of the contract, because there is crucial information they won't verbally disclose (such as how you'll be forced to repay your grant if you quit during your first few months)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Please consider the physical and psychological health needs of recently graduated corps members.

    As for the summer institute, consider changing the structure so that CMs are able to have a full night's sleep. Compelling corps members to attend workshops until 10pm and to wake up at 5 in the morning and assigning fully scripted lesson plans yet not permitting corps members to have any breaks other than meals during the day is outright abusive- many people get less than four hours a night of sleep

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Technology Team : Intoxicating place to work.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Technology Team in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Technology Team in New York, NY

    I worked at Teach for America full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    They have some smart folks who have a lot of passion for the work. But, their energies need to be directed towards the bigger purpose of TFA.

    Cons

    Technology team is highly political. There are some senior IT folks sitting in the Bay area who are clueless about what's happening in the New York office. They make random decisions without knowing the ground reality. Extremely political atmosphere. Those aligned with top management are safe. Others are left to fend for themselves. Also, limited growth potential.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get to the ground level and get a feel of what's happening in the technology team. The economy's improved and tech folks who feel under-appreciated will not stay that long.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Project Coordinator

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Campus Campaign Coordinator
    Former Employee - Campus Campaign Coordinator

    I worked at Teach for America

    Pros

    Pretty much the only pro of working with TFA is the name recognition and prestige...

    Cons

    Once you realize that your job is only worsening the problems in public schools, you don't want to be a part of it

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Maybe be honest? Don't make up recruitment numbers?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10.  

    An organization defined by hubris

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - TFA Corps Member in Detroit, MI
    Former Employee - TFA Corps Member in Detroit, MI

    I worked at Teach for America full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The organization invests a lot into its corps members financially; you get a whole lot of free training on transferrable skills...and help getting a job.

    Cons

    It's clear that the organization is more concerned with extending its own influence and reach than in actually helping children. It will do anything to get more corps members into a city, even when they are patently not needed (the ill-fated Seattle office is a great example), will lie to or mislead its corps members to get them to commit, and then will fail to deliver the promised support/resources to corps members once they start looking for a job or teaching.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    Teach for America prepared me very poorly and led to a year of agony for me and my students.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Teach for America full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Teach for America is prestigious. That's about all I can say for it that's good. I thought it was a way to help poor communities, but with its poor preparation I can no longer say that.

    Cons

    The preparation is dreadful. Half the time is spent on vague reflection exercises to help you internalize "core values" that have no substantial relation to the job. Then you teach for a total of about 10-20 hours, often at a very different placement. Be prepared to have to make literally everything up from day one. I recommend visiting a classroom of your grade level several times and extensively as early as possible, especially before the year starts.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of all the reflection exercises and sermons on the core values. They are not helpful and waste time that could be spent on actual preparation. Also, please make sure to place people as close to their grade level as possible, even if that requires last minute switches.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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