The mission and goals of Teach for America is to assign elite college graduates to a failing school system and have a meaningful positive effect on students, faculty and the overall curriculum. I truly believe that Teach for America should increase the required number of commitment years for teachers. which is currently only two. Although a handful of recent graduates can handle a new demanding classroom environment, many end up leaving the program immediately following their second year. Most of the TFA members have not taken any formal educational classes throughout college, and are unprepared for certain cultural and behavioral issues that have a negative effect on a student or classroom.
The constant churning of teachers in underdeveloped school systems is detrimental to the overall education and development of students. Experienced staff members may have a hard time accepting and warming up to new teachers since they only have a two year commitment to a school. This makes it extremely difficult for TFA members to make meaningful relationships and connections to students. A possible solution to this issue may be requiring a mandatory period of time where TFA teachers observe a classroom with a current educator. This would allow current teachers to mentor the incoming TFA members about the social and economic issues that students and the school must face on a daily basis. A mentoring program would also assist in preparing TFA teachers become comfortable in a new environment in which they have never taught before. There are just some minor intricacies that must be addressed to improve the overall effectiveness and success of TFA teachers and their students.
Overall, the Teach for America Organization is a positive program that has a meaningful effect on students in struggling school systems, but much improvement is needed. There should be more of an emphasis on educational and behavioral training. Along with more extensive training, the mandatory two year commitment should be increased as well. Requiring a semester of classroom observation or student teaching would also be beneficial in integrating a new TFA member to a struggling school system. Building a relationship with the current staff would also be extremely beneficial for all parties. Working collaboratively with other teachers who are familiar with the curriculum would be a great resource for new TFA members.