Teach For America (TFA) - opinions?

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sunnex3

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i have recently been alerted to a new opportunity for myself that i hadn't really thought of before.

through the email from a recruiting director for teach for america, i was able to meet with her and chat with her about what TFA is about

i am graduating this year, and i am actually quite interested in joining the program now after graduation, but am a little hesitant because it would mean it would be at least 2 years until i apply for vet school.

does anyone here know someone who did the program, or maybe did the program themselves?

and what about in terms of my pre-reqs expiring? it'll be at least summer 2013 before i apply - at which schools does it matter how long ago i took my pre-reqs?

i'm getting a little excited about TFA, especially because they're lacking in teachers with a science and math background (i'm a bio major).

thanks in advance for everyone's input! :)

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Teach for America is a great program. My old roommate is doing it right now. I know she is taking Master's classes at the same time. They have an extremely competitive application process. As for your pre-reqs expiring, if you are graduating this year I don't see how they would expire. A lot of people do a grad program after undergrad before applying and their pre-reqs are usually fine. I think it would be an awesome thing to have on an application. Good luck if you end up applying!
 
I have two friends doing TfA, both of which have had some issues adjusting, my one friend is in Colorado and is having a really tough time. My other friend is about to start her second year of being a 5th grade teacher in NYC, but I think she's doing okay and enjoys it.

I read something recently that made me really start to wonder about the program, and so maybe it'll be helpful for you to read it. Not necessarily to convince you not to do TfA, but more as "food for thought". This was written by Bil Johnson, who was a professor in Brown's education department and is now at Yale:http://www.biljohnson.com/thoughts-on-tfa.html

I don't think TfA is quite as terrible as this guy makes it out to be, but it is clear that a ton of people drop out of the program before the 2 years is up, and the schools that you will be teaching in will not be ones with great resources for teacher support.
 
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Many schools don't want pre-reqs to be older than 6 years. So that would be... 2006 as the oldest any classes could have been taken if applying for the class of 2017 (October 2012 deadline for VMCAS). That's only if my brain is working correctly today. :)

Remember that there are also lots of opportunities to travel and do awesome vet stuff too, so make sure you look into all the different types of programs. Not that TFA is bad, but hey, you want to be a vet, right? Vet programs might be extra cool for you.
 
TFA is just one of the many options i'm looking into post-grad. i'm definitely taking a break (seeing as I haven't even started applying right now) but i'm just looking for something unique and interesting to do while i'm taking 1-2 years off.

i do understand that the schools that TFA corps members go to are rough -- that's one of my worries about the program, but i think that article link above is a little extreme...although i follow his reasoning.

twelvetigers, you seem very knowledgeable, do you have any unique ideas for me to maybe try out while i'm taking time off? :)

ps - i started college in fall 2007 (some of my math + bio prereqs were completed in my freshman year), so i guess that means the latest i could apply is probably summer 2013 (for entry into the fall 2014 class)? is my math correct?
 
Not *all* schools have the time limit - I only meant that 6 years is the shortest time limit I know of. So that really depends on where you're interested.

As for programs, I only know that they exist. Seems like a good thing to look for on Google to start with - there are programs in parts of Africa, Asia, India (realizing that India isn't a continent lol).
 
TFA would be awesome on an app, and a great experience to boot. You should totally do it if it's something you're interested in.

Not all the schools have the time limit on pre-reqs or are super strict about it, especially if you took harder courses later in the same areas, so then they don't precisely care. I think some of the schools I applied to I was theoretically out of the time limit on a lot of the pre-reqs (I did physics, calc, and some other stuff in the late 90's in undergrad), but since I have engineering degrees, I obviously know how to do the easier math and it wasn't an issue anywhere I applied. I dunno...YMMV.
 
There's an awesome website, volunteersouthamerica.net, that has a ton of places you can go and volunteer while living within the community, and you just pay for room and board, which is usually around 100 a week. You arrange all of your own everything to get there and be there, but it's very doable. I've volunteered at a wildlife refuge in Ecuador and at a mixed animal vet clinic in rural Peru, and there are a ton of options on the site. Takes a bit of digging, I've spent hours clicking on all the links, but I love the site.
 
1) I hear this program is extremely competitive.

2) ive heard people starting out have a really hard time because it is their first teaching job and they get thrown into a rough environment. combo of hard kids to keep focused and also lack of funding at the schools and lack of support from other teachers there

3) between TFA and research, i think research would help your application more so i would apply to a post bacc research program

4) if you still really wanted to do a teaching program, i would look into an overseas one. there is a guy in my class now who taught in Japan for 2 yrs teaching english to kids. there is a special name for this program but im not sure what it is. i guess u could google it
 
Penn wants pre reqs within the past five years.

My fiance is teaching in the inner city here and even with a master's in education he is finding it very tiring and frustrating at times to work with the kids. For someone who hasn't even had all the education required to get a teaching degree, I imagine it would be even more difficult.

My advice is to get a regular job, preferably animal related, and just work for a while. Nothing like a job to motivate you to go back to school :)
 
1) I hear this program is extremely competitive.

2) ive heard people starting out have a really hard time because it is their first teaching job and they get thrown into a rough environment. combo of hard kids to keep focused and also lack of funding at the schools and lack of support from other teachers there

3) between TFA and research, i think research would help your application more so i would apply to a post bacc research program

4) if you still really wanted to do a teaching program, i would look into an overseas one. there is a guy in my class now who taught in Japan for 2 yrs teaching english to kids. there is a special name for this program but im not sure what it is. i guess u could google it

i've already got research experience - 1 year in a lab at the penn vet school, 1 semester in a derm lab...but research is NOT the thing for me, i really didn't feel that committed and excited to what i was doing so i am not pursuing any more research experience. just looking for something different to do in my time off...i'm not taking time off because i need more time to get experience, or to improve my grades...just taking time off to gain back something remotely resembling sanity in my life :D
 
Penn wants pre reqs within the past five years.

My fiance is teaching in the inner city here and even with a master's in education he is finding it very tiring and frustrating at times to work with the kids. For someone who hasn't even had all the education required to get a teaching degree, I imagine it would be even more difficult.

My advice is to get a regular job, preferably animal related, and just work for a while. Nothing like a job to motivate you to go back to school :)

i'm thinking about doing an internship at a wildlife refuge center close to me...and doing some more equine vet related stuff. also going to get back to riding horses (which i used to do all the time in high school). i've got experience in a private practice, specialty/referral center, emergency room, and animal shelter medical clinic, so i'm really just lacking in large animal or wildlife.
 
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