Teach for America

  www.teachforamerica.org
  www.teachforamerica.org

Teach for America Reviews

Updated October 22, 2014
Updated October 22, 2014
399 Reviews
3.8
399 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Matthew Kramer & Elisa Villanueva Beard
46 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • opportunities for professional development and taking on big jobs early in one's career (in 50 reviews)

  • Passionate, intelligent colleagues, great benefits and option to work from home (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • The work/life balance involved in the corps commitment is a significant challenge (in 42 reviews)

  • Long hours and work/personal life balance can be difficult as a first year (in 30 reviews)

More Highlights

37 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    The leader in education reform needs some serious reform...

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

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

    Pros

    great network, helping kids,

    Cons

    very poor training, poor management, poor professional development, "culture of shame"

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Really work at creating better training modules- five weeks is definitely not enough time to learn to be a teacher in a high needs district. Also, provide better support that goes beyond sitting in someones house talking about our feelings and the woes of the education system. As an English teacher, I didn't want to lament about the poverty of my students - I wanted to know about different reading strategies! Another tip in terms of support-MTLDs are very busy going to TFA meetings and are often over-booked with 35 corps members to guide.. that means the MTLD only gets to a corps members classroom twice a year..how does that equate support?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Pro, con, Pro

    • 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 (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great life lessons acquired through this experience

    Cons

    Very little genuine support from key leaders

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Place a greater emphasis on caring about your members, not your community connections.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Ughhhhh

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

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

    Pros

    you will meet some of your best friends here, and you get paid....

    Cons

    awful, awful, AWFUL. a gist: chairs thrown and fist fights in class

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    train your employees maybe????

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review
  5.  

    Former corps member, Chicago region

    • 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 full-time

    Pros

    --Meet great, smart, highly motivated people in your peer group
    --Great leadership training and trial under fire
    --Meaningful job and organization values where you believe you are making a difference

    Cons

    --Very poor work/life balance in your first year as corps member due to excessive professional development, teacher certification classes, and curriculum development while enduring your first year as a teacher
    --Cult-like culture that discourages independent thinking
    --Organization does not value the corps member's time

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    --Limit ineffective and wasteful "professional development" sessions and eliminate Saturday sessions altogether in first year
    --While a necessary evil, teacher certification classes in first year need to either become more useful or limited immensely if possible
    --Encourage independent approaches among corps members

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    horrible and unorganized

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL

    I have been working at Teach for America full-time

    Pros

    life changes in students, relationships with collab team as well as strong relationships with students who do not usually have relationships with teachers

    Cons

    they aren't really teaching students anything because they use lower end work and of course students will understand. Not really changing lives but want to make money of off students

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Work with smart, talented, and passionate people but management is bad.

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

    I worked at Teach for America full-time

    Pros

    1) You get to work with extremely smart, talented and passionate people who are all aligned on the mission.
    2) Great benefits, compensation is ok - they offer comp days and have great vacation time. Ability to work from home and have a flexible schedule.
    3) Good work environment - office is always nice and clean.
    4) Strong focus on personal and professional development - I was able to attend conferences and buy books for my own development.
    5) If you value collaboration and teamwork, this is a good place to be because it encourages cross-functional work.

    Cons

    1) Can be very cult-like. You need to think and speak a certain way to fit in and if you don't, it will reflect on your performance reviews.
    2) Management needs some serious work. Too many people in senior level positions with low experience. They don't really know how to "manage" others. Not empowering at all to the staff. Very controlling and micro-manage you.
    3) TFA expects you to work all the time. It says 45-50 hours a week in their employment policies, but it is more like 60 hours a week at least. The compensation does not equal the amount of work being done.
    4) They expect you to take on at least 5-10 projects at any given time, which means you don't really have the time to dedicate your best work to any of them. Basically, you will submit sub-par work because there aren't enough hours in the day.
    5) Don't be fooled by the job description. TFA expects you to work on a lot more outside projects than what is in the job description.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give your new managers some serious training around how to manage others. Most of the ones I encountered were micro-managing and very disempowering. Management also needs to respect the diverse views of it's employees and be a more inclusive environment. TFA is not inclusive at all even when it claims to be. Give more time and thought to what it means to be a "diverse & inclusive" environment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Work you to death and not about the kids

    • 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

    Pros

    smart passionate people who are interesting

    Cons

    executive director had no people skills

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Disconnected from its mission and is people

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

    I worked at Teach for America full-time

    Pros

    Important note: be sure to distinguish between "staff" and "corps member/CM/Teacher" in these reviews since CM's are not staff members and their experience is far different (and far more variable). From the staff side of things, its great to work with such intelligent and talented people. Also the offices are nice as well as the benefits. I'm tempted to say that its nice to work in an organization where everyone shares the same values but as I experience more with TFA, I don't believe this is the case. I think everyone appears to have similar values but in reality they are overarching beliefs that mean very different things to different people/settings. I will say one firm shared belief that I valued was the limitless potential of kids and the belief that they can learn/grow/achieve at any level. Despite all the cons, everyone is extremely well intentioned - I just think the culture and organizational effectiveness produces the cons below.

    Cons

    1) The workplace is dominated by Millennials who have not worked anywhere else than at Teach for America.

    2) Poor change management (growing too quickly and not to scale).

    3) It is a private-sector/"corporate" leadership model (quantity of ideas, not necessarily quality).

    4) There are far too many "innovations", pilot programs, etc to maintain effectively and the pace of work is unsustainable which leads to...

    5) It is dominated by people from privileged backgrounds who have the privilege of work being "the main thing on their plate" and therefore can invest more time/energy to their work. It is also a very cultured privilege with most staff members coming from upper middle class/wealthy families and the culture associated with it (recreational travel, eating out for many/most meals, being able to pay for business expenses then be reimbursed). TFA has grown in some components in this are (reimbursments) but the imposed culture by the majority from privileged backgrounds hasn't been addressed. Along with this it is a a white, Anglo-normative culture as well.

    6) Too much variability of experience depending on who your manager is (and their training/experience).

    7) Very few (if any) educational experts on staff who know development theory, pedagogical theory, etc and who did not earned their degree through a TFA degree partnership program (which are many times watered down).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I agree with the vision and direction of TFA national but it didn't seem like the regional office/staff was aligned. There was also a ton of "talk" around making TFA more diverse, inclusive, etc but the conversation stopped when the realization came that we would need to change the way we worked, what we defined as successful. TFA is a culture of high expectations and zero standards - there should be more of a uniform training process, and clear & quantifiable standards - especially for new managers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    TFA has a great message, but not always the best follow-through

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

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

    Pros

    TFA looks great on a resume, and for the most part, the program is filled with passionate people. You have the opportunity to meet some GREAT people.

    Cons

    Communication is not the strong point of upper-level staff. The training is not always enough to prepare you for a real classroom. For example, I "trained" in a classroom for 4 weeks teaching reading and math to 5th graders when I was placed to teach high school social studies. There was very little cross-over with classroom management or content. The support afterwards was hit or miss. I got a lot of pep talks, but not any concrete help.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve the Institute placement model to help match more corps members closer to their actual placement. Hire MTLDs with better communication skills.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    Liked phone interview, no so much in personal interview

    • 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 as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Quick way for young, inexperience kids to get a job teaching

    Cons

    Unnecessarily regimented, lacking in age diversity, not suited for people over 35 with families. Boot camp type setting for children trying to learn how to teach children in a very short period of time. The program should really be scratched. They can discriminate against you and basically you have no rights to file charges. Because they claim not to do the actual hiring so the courts have ruled in their favor in other cases where they clearly failed to recommend the most qualified. They have this very secretive selection process that should not be allowed federal funding, is my opinion.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Bring older more experienced professional from the neighborhoods where the students that are taught come from

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

Work at Teach for America? Share Your Experiences

Teach for America

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.