Publisher Pine Street Press
Destination: Teach For America by Jake Whitman
In 2012, more than 48,000 applicants applied to Teach For America for just over 5,800 positions. With fewer than 1 in 10 students from low-income families graduating from college today, our country’s children need the most talented people teaching them. If your dream is to join Teach For America, this book is for you.
Whitman, a TFA alumnus and former recruiter, will teach you how to join this movement by helping you build the skills that Teach For America values most. The book includes advice from more than 20 current corps members and alumni, step-by-step methods to gain leadership skills, and real preparation strategies for your application and interviews.
I was given this book to read with no idea what ‘Teach For America’ was. I have a limited knowledge of the American education system and did not know what to expect. Having read the book carefully, I think I now know everything. It is a comprehensive volume on how to plan, prepare and apply for teaching in very specific terms. It is a well written book and has some inspirational examples of how lives have been changed and continue to be changed by positive influences. the first half of the book is ‘Understanding teach for America and how you fit in.’ In this section there is emphasis on the commitment needed to complete two years of innovative and testing teaching, although the ethos of investing it the corps members is an investment in the future leaders of the country. One of the qualities looked for in corps members is;
‘A respect for individual’s diverse experiences and the ability to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds.’
This encapsulates for me what this book is about, a guide for young people who are setting out on a difficult quest who will come up against diversity of all kinds. It teaches them how to ‘exhibit their qualities’ and commit to showing unconditional respect to the students and also colleagues. It gives candidates the motivation and the direction, in detailed steps to fulfil their ambitions.
Part two is about recruitment and is a straightforward guide to creating a positive presence with the decision-makers. The writer I feel has got the balance right between solid practical advice and anecdotal examples of how it’s done.
There are real life experiences and advice from people who have lived the commitment, and guidance on planning the application and interviews for the best results.
When the writer talks about the education ‘landscape’ and how important it is to understand the current trends and problems in modern schools, it highlights his personal commitment to getting the important information to the candidates for the benefit of the whole system. A very well planned and written book which all educators can learn from. It also lends itself to required reading for anyone interested in applying to Teach For america.