Teach for America encourages U of L students to join

By Caitlyn Crenshaw–

Two years is what recent Teach for America corps members are signing on for after graduation.  During Teach for America week at UofL, students attended events to engage in discussion and learn about what it’s like to work for TFA.

“Teach for America teachers make up about 0.2 percent of the country’s several million teachers,” according to a recent survey by the University of Texas and California State University.  With 500 teachers in six communities, TFA began in 1990 and has grown to more than 8,200 recent graduates teaching in 39 rural and urban communities.

In 2010 a record of 18 percent of Yale graduates applied to TFA.  18 UofL graduates are teaching for America currently completing their commitments across America.   This is the highest number of corps members that the university has seen graduate.

In April 2011, Teach for America decided to expand into the Appalachians of Eastern Kentucky.

TFA hosted three events on campus by O.J. Oleka, a TFA recruitment manager who handles recruitment at UofL and other area universities. Oleka is a 2010 UofL graduate, former Student Government Association president and former TFA corps member teaching in St. Louis.

Oleka told UofL Today, “Every child in every district in every school…deserves that opportunity.”

One of the events hosted by Oleka was titled “Less Talk, More Action: How to Fix Our Failing Schools” and sought to engage students in a discussion on the effects of failing schools in low-income communities.  Oleka hosted another event for greek students only to focus on leadership.  Zeta Phi Beta took home the trophy at the Greek Summit.

Oleka did not return the questions of the Louisville Cardinal.

“People are everything in education, just as in the corporate world,” said Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO.  TFA tends to seek high achieving recent college graduates and is notable for their recruiting and marketing strategies. Of the 2009 corps members, 89 percent held a leadership position in at least one activity on campus.

The next application deadline for TFA is Jan. 11, 2013.

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