This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Teach For America. All opinions are 100% mine.
I spent the first two years of my college career volunteering with an organization that allowed me to give back to the community. I spent 12 hours a week in a preschool classroom a few blocks away from Temple University, getting to know the children who went to school there and helping them learn. By volunteering, not only did I get to serve my community and bring a little more fun to children’s lives, I also learned a lot about myself in the process.
Every day, I would work one-on-one with my partner child. He was extremely bright for his age and one of the first activities we would do was look at our names and the letters that make them up. My partner child would fly through telling me the letters in his name and the sounds they made so I began to ask him to find the letters of his name within the title of the book we’d be reading.
One day, he arrived late and we didn’t have a chance to look at our names so I dove right into the book. After a few minutes he stopped me and exclaimed, “We forgot to do this!” He closed the book and scanned the title, finding all the letters of his name within it in a matter of seconds. It was then that I realized I was actually making an impact on his education. He was getting faster and more accurate at finding his letters and it was the greatest feeling in the world.
The bonds you form with the children you work closely with are everlasting. I get choked up when I begin to think about how much working with them meant to me and I miss them every day. I felt responsible for their learning and wanted to see them succeed. I worked with these 4 and 5 year olds to teach them phonemic awareness, language and literacy skills, and new vocabulary. I played with them and sang with them and read them stories. It was the best two years of my life.
It was because of this experience that I began to have an even greater respect for teachers and how their work in the classroom prepares children for all areas of life. I’m going into a career as a speech-language pathologist, but I’ve always been pulled to any opportunity that involves teaching and helping children learn. Teaching is so important because you become a lifeline to the children you work with. Teaching is one of the most rewarding jobs you could possibly have. It’s amazing to see first-hand the positive impact you are making on the life of a student.
I believe that everyone should have an opportunity to work with children to make an impact on future generations. Teach For America works to ensure that all children growing up get an excellent education full of opportunities, regardless of their zip code. Too often, a child’s zip code is a good indicator of their future success. That shouldn’t be the case.
Teach For America finds, trains, and places outstanding leaders as teachers in 52 regions around the country. They recruit individuals from all career backgrounds and majors, so even if your major isn’t anything related to education you can still work with Teach For America! Once you’re accepted, you’ll receive extensive training and ongoing coaching and development in the classroom. You’ll have the opportunity to directly and positively impact the lives of children while also being a paid, full-time employee of the school district.
After 2 years, you will have a choice to stay in education or continue on a different career path. It’s important to note that Teach For America alumni hold distinguished leadership roles in many fields and continue to advocate for kids even if they’re no longer in the classroom. This opportunity is perfect for those who are eager to teach, learn, and see first-hand how their knowledge and patience can impact future generations. I hope you’ll consider a future with Teach For America.