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TFA Quitters


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Hey folks, last year when I was on this site all the time preparing my grad school apps I tried to see if there were candidates who had quit Teach for America and lived to tell the tale. And I didn't find any, so I crossed my fingers and hoped no one would find out what a failure I was in the application process.


I got into all the MPP programs I applied for (all DC area) and ended up at Georgetown with substantial funding. So I just wanted to tell anyone out there who was wondering the same thing I was that

1. it is not the end of the world,

2. you will not be marked for life, and

3. the reality is TFA is really not as big a deal in the world as it is in your head right now.


Yes, everyone you know is a 24 year old go-getter liberal arts graduate who is either in TFA or has a friend or classmate who did it and they all know it's a 2 year program and if you give up on your kids you are the worst. But the fact is the guy who sits on admissions committee/potential employer is middle aged, he maybe had a friend whose kid did TFA and he's glad his daughter didn't decide to put herself in harm's way by doing the same. He doesn't know it's a 2 year program, he won't give it a second thought if he only sees 1 year on your resume, and he will still respect the experience and perspective you gained in the classroom and in the community.


This is not to say that that I don't salute my friends and colleagues who stayed in their placement schools for years and accomplished amazing things for their kids and communities. But this post isn't for them.


Nor is it to argue with anyone who thinks it would be constructive to chide anyone for leaving and then being so selfish as to try to move on with one's career.


Not everyone is cut out to be a great teacher, and if you don't think you are it doesn't make sense to stay in the classroom taking a job away from someone else. I have no regrets over completing my first year of teaching and and no regrets over not going back for a second.


That having been said, it's best if you can hold out til the end of the year just so your kids don't feel abandoned. But I know there are things outside you "locus of control" that make it too much. The fact is, *anyone with sense will understand that.*


In conclusion, TFA is filled with good people who do a lot of good. But there are also negatives involved in the process. If you quit, or are miserable and thinking about quitting, I want you to know you are not marked for life. 


If there are other former CMs who left and would like to share their successes I'd welcome them to do so. Also if anyone would like to private message me with questions feel free. Good luck people!



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Harm's way?  I doubt the vast majority of TFA teachers are at any significant risk of harm.


Anyway, I think this is a good post AND goes for leaving many things early - a PhD program, an MA program, or any other kind of professional master's program or fellowship program.  Sometimes things just don't work out.  It's better to leave once you realize that than to struggle on, miserably, with some vague notion of having to finish.  If you can articulate clearly and maturely why you decided something was not for you and decided to go pursue some other thing instead, I think most admissions committees and employers will respect that.

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Harm's way in the sense that fights break out in the classroom in poor areas more than wealthier areas, and also working in an impoverished community generally means there will be more crime and violence in the neighborhood. But really what I was trying to get across is that is the viewpoint of many parents of the potential TFAers, they're not thrilled to see their young adult children go to work in what they rightly or wrongly perceive as an unsafe neighborhood. And the adcoms and employers who will assess us will be more likely to see it through that lens because of their age.


Great advice on the applicability to any leaving early situation, 

juilletmercredi I'm sure many will appreciate hearing that.
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