Teach for America

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Teach for America Reviews

Updated Jul 30, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 350 reviews

81% Approve of the CEO

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Matthew Kramer & Elisa Villanueva Beard

(27 ratings)

75% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • If you are with a supportive corps, excellent professional development (in 43 reviews)

  • It's nice to know that you're making a difference in people's lives (in 12 reviews)


Cons
  • The work/life balance involved in the corps commitment is a significant challenge (in 36 reviews)

  • Long hours and work/personal life balance can be difficult as a first year (in 28 reviews)

More Highlights
350 Employee Reviews
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Desperate or Desire?

    Teacher (Former Employee)

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

    ConsLack 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 Senior ManagementRecruit 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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

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

    TFA Corps Member (Former Employee) Baltimore, MD

    ProsYou 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)

    ConsBe 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 Senior ManagementPlease 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

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Technology Team : Intoxicating place to work.

    Technology Team (Former Employee) New York, NY

    ProsThey 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.

    ConsTechnology 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 Senior ManagementGet 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Project Coordinator

    Campus Campaign Coordinator (Former Employee)

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

    ConsOnce 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 Senior ManagementMaybe be honest? Don't make up recruitment numbers?

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Comp & Benefits
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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    An organization defined by hubris

    TFA Corps Member (Former Employee) Detroit, MI

    ProsThe 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.

    ConsIt'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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

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

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsTeach 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.

    ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementGet 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Do NOT Work in Information Technology Here

    Director (Former Employee) New York, NY

    ProsMight be better than being unemployed. Might not. Depends on how abusive your manager is.

    ConsThe IT Department is an absolute mess with an awful culture. In my 15 year career, it's the worst I've ever seen. Incredibly low morale. Incredibly high turnover. Verbal and psychological abuse from middle managers. Zero leadership from upper management who should step in and fire abusive people. I worked here for 4 (very long) months before returning to my former employer (a major university in NYC). During my 4 months, about 10 people left IT who worked in my area out of 50 people. Those who didn't leave were trying to leave. Now that I'm gone, former co-workers are asking me if there are any openings where I work.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou need to change the awful culture in IT. People talk to each other like they're dirt. Make an example out of one of the abusive people and everyone else will fall in line. The worst part is that the abusive people are absolutely replaceable. They're not even talented.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Developing the "leaders" to close the achievement gap, but instead feels disorganized, disconnected, and disconnected.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsWhere there has been the introduction of great teachers into the profession and great leaders of schools and systems who would otherwise not have considered education, that's a benefit to the students in high needs communities who might not otherwise have access to that talent.

    ConsIncestuous. Lacks understanding about developing SMART goals. At the regional level puts leaders in place who may be smart, but who are not managers and then fails to develop them. Insular -- actions demonstrate that non-alumni have little value internally or externally.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLearn to manage, develop your managers, recognize that you do not know everything and that others might have valuable insight.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    A beautifully wrapped package with a rotten apple inside

    Corps Member (Current Employee) Miami, FL

    Pros- good resume builder
    - good work experience

    Cons-Cult like organizations with closed minded opinions

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe more diverse

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    High work, low pay, not family-friendly

    Teacher (Current Employee) Detroit, MI

    ProsThey are helping me procure my teaching certificate. There are not many pros here, to be perfectly honest, not enough for a twenty word minimum! Not a great place to work.

    ConsWork 70 hours a week and it's still not enough, extra requirements through TFA and U of M, as if the requirements of teaching high school math were not enough. Expected to be available with no notice whatsoever.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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