Following a SESP Tradition, 12 Seniors Join Teach For America

Following a SESP Tradition, 12 Seniors Join Teach For America

Teach for America Seniors
When Teach For America teachers enter classrooms this fall, 12 School of Education and Social Policy seniors will be members of this select corps working to improve education in low-income communities. 

Historically, a significant number of SESP seniors are chosen for the highly competitive teaching corps and other teaching fellow programs. According to surveys of post-graduate plans from 2005 to 2010, 18 percent of SESP graduates enter teaching corps programs. This is in addition to the 13 percent who enter teaching through a more traditional route.

“TFA is a great way to have an impact in their first job after college and work for something that’s important to them and to the country,” says SESP senior Amanda Haase, who is one of three campus campaign coordinators for Teach For America at Northwestern. The SESP seniors who were selected for Teach For America include the following students:

  • Michael Alperin, a social policy major, will teach in New York City.
  • Colleen Antas, a human development and psychological services major, will teach Spanish in Chicago.
  • Rebecca Crook, a human development and psychological services major, will teach bilingual education in the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Theresa Gillespie, a human development and psychological services major, will teach special education in the Chicago area.
  • Amanda Haase, a learning and organizational change major, will teach mathematics in Detroit.
  • Candise Hill, a social policy major, will teach early childhood education in Baltimore.
  • Judith Landeros, a social policy major, will teach early childhood education in Chicago/Roseland.
  • Cailie Lauesen, a human development and psychological services major, will teach early childhood in the Chicago area.
  • Kathryn Schoedel, a learning and organizational change major, will teach middle school science in Chicago.
  • Talia Seidman, a human development and psychological services major, will teach general education/special education in New York City.
  • Rebecca Swan, a learning and organizational change major, will teach special education in St. Louis.

Among mid-sized colleges, Northwestern is the top source of Teach For America teachers. “One of the great things about Northwestern is that the students are socially conscious, so most recognize that educational equity is an issue,” notes Haase.

SESP students often have the qualities that Teach For America seeks. “In classes, students talk about social issues and how they impact people. But they want to go beyond and do something more,” Haase comments. In addition, SESP students are leaders across campus, and that’s what TFA looks for, according to Haase, who notes, “TFA also looks for high academic achievement and the ability to stand up to challenges and persevere.”

Each of the four SESP concentrations brings a different perspective to teaching, Haase says. For example, HDPS students are prepared to focus on what individual students need, and LOC students are good at team building while Secondary Teaching students have teaching strategies in place. She adds, “One of the strengths of SESP is we can all collaborate and know how to do that from our classes.”

Starting just three days after graduation, the 12 students will participate in training this summer. They will begin with an orientation in the region where they will be teaching and then will continue with five weeks of training at one of eight centers nationally. Finally they will return to their regions for more specific training. Throughout the year as they teach, they will participate in professional development. “TFA provides support to help Corps members through challenges,” says Haase.

Haase has spent her senior year speaking one on one with students and arranging panels, events, presentations and classroom visits as a TFA campus coordinator. “Talking with people one on one alleviates misconceptions about TFA,” she says. She was offered the job with TFA after completing her SESP practicum working in TFA’s Chicago office on grant writing and development. She had discovered an interest in education after teaching at a community church on the South Side of Chicago the summer after her sophomore year. 

Like most other TFA corps members, Haase is focused on social justice. But something more personal motivates her too. “I’m excited to meet my kids,” she says with a smile.

Caption:
(From left) Colleen Antas, Judith Landeros, Amanda Haase, Michael Alperin and Rebecca Swan are among the seniors selected for Teach For America this year.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 5/3/11