Why I Teach for America
Hello, Big Apple
A new grad explains why he joined TFA—and what he hopes to accomplish
Austin Collie, from Easley, S.C., graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in international business/finance and a minor in French.
As an international business and finance major at Carolina, I realize that it seems unconventional (to say the least) that I decided to join Teach for America, pledging to spend the next two years of my life teaching math in New York City public high schools.
There are several reasons, though, why becoming a Teach for America corps member is an attractive “next step” for graduates like me. Personally, the opportunity was too good to pass up to share with secondary students the analytical skills that I have developed as a finance major.
Contrary to what many people assume, joining the TFA Corps is hardly a sacrifice. I will receive a full, first-year teacher’s salary; I’ll get to live and work in New York City (possibly the best perk of all!); and I will be able to take advantage of Teach for America’s very impressive partnerships with prestigious financial institutions and business schools after my two-year commitment. This all goes without saying that, given the current state of the financial world, the chances of me finding a financial job that I would have enjoyed were slim to none.
As a teacher, I hope to motivate my future students to invest in their education by showing them exactly how important math can and will be in their lives. A goal of mine is to inspire them to pursue avenues in life that they might not have previously considered, whether that is finding their dream job, going to college, or something else. There will be plenty of obstacles for me -- low expectations and limited resources, to name a few. All in all, though, the next two years will probably be the most challenging of my life, but I am confident that they have the potential to be the most rewarding as well.