Learning on Other People's Kids

Becoming a Teach For America Teacher

Barbara Torre Veltri Ed. D, Northern Arizona University

Published 2010

This work captures the voices of TFA novices who offer candid accounts of their experiences in Becoming Teach For America Teachers. Previously unanswered questions are addressed: Why do recent college graduates apply to Teach For America? How are they recruited, trained, and hired? How do they learn the culture (s) of the community, schools, grade level, curriculum, and children they teach? Is there a “culture” of the TFA organization? What recommendations do they offer to TFA donors, policy-makers, future corps members and the public?

Woven into this book, are perspectives from mentors who worked alongside TFAers, administrators who hired them, corporate C.E.O.’s who supported them, and policies (both local and national) that privileged TFA over non-TFA teachers. Finally, a compelling series of eyewitness narratives introduces each chapter’s theme, documented from the author’s own, “Notes from the Field.” These accounts offer rich, descriptive vignettes that present the challenges TFAers faced, as they occurred. Schools reflect the multitiered and often non-level playing field that comprises America’s educational landscape. Learning on Other People’s Kids: Becoming a Teach For America Teacher provides readers a glimpse into the corps member experience in a rare ethnographic account.

PART I: BECOMING A TFA CORPS MEMBER 1. Coaching the Corps. 2. Why Become a TFA Teacher? 3. School Districts and Teach For America. 4. Corps Training Institute. 5. Learning the Culture of Teach For America: The Regional Organization. PART II: THE SOCIALIZATION OF TEACH FOR AMERICA TEACHERS 6. Learning the Culture of Communities and Schools. 7. Learning the Culture of Teaching. 8. Learning the Complexities of Teaching in Poverty Schools. PART III: TEACH FOR AMERICA AND THE EDUCATION OF POOR CHILDREN 9. TFA Corps Members and their Students. 10. Full Circle. 11. The Master Narrative and Teach For America. 12. Problematics and Persistent Questions. Appendix A. Appendix B. Appendix C. Appendix D. Appendix E. References

The Kindle edition of this book is now available on Amazon

The National Education Association lists Learning on Other People's Kids as an Editor's Pick on the website.

Dr. Diane Ravitch (NYU Professor and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education) highlights Veltri's book in this Washington Post article.

Read an interview with the author on Columbia University's "School Stories" website.