Personal Responsibility: The Effects of Becoming a Teach For America Teacher

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There has been a great deal of research about Teach For America (TFA) teachers' efficacy and tenure in the classroom, usually comparing them to other novice traditionally-certified teachers. However, there is little research that examines how TFA (as an organization) recruits for and then shapes the behaviors and attitudes of its teachers, or about the short- and long-term effects of that initiation period. This paper argues that this initial recruitment and training have clear effects on these teachers' pedagogical mindset as well as their desire to stay in teaching. The data for this paper come from a variety of sources, including a three-year ethnography of the same cohort of TFA teachers starting from before they entered the program and finishing after they completed it. Specifically, the three stages of TFA's recruitment and training practices (recruitment, application, and training) are examined in order to analyze how TFA staff engage with college students and garner applic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-71
JournalCritical Education
StatePublished - Apr 2013


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