Contributor Morgan Howard will be interning with Teach For America this summer. Here's what she's excited about and how she's preparing for her internship.
Above, photo by Amanda Nguyen.
Morgan Howard, a rising senior at UNC, will be interning with Teach for America in Houston this summer. She’ll be keeping a diary about her experiences.
Three months ago, I found out that I was going to be interning with Teach For America (TFA).
TFA is a nonprofit education program. Young adults, usually recent college graduates, serve as teachers in classrooms across the country. Teachers are usually put in schools where students come from low-income backgrounds. It is a two-year time commitment, and teaching experience is not a requirement. You do not even need to want to have a career in teaching. You just need a passion for students and making a quality education accessible to anyone.
I won’t be teaching this summer. Instead, I will be interning on the Institute Management Team at the Houston summer institute. This is where some incoming teachers will be training to learn how to lead their classrooms. Over the past few weeks, I have been having conference calls with my manager so I can learn more about expectations of my role and what my day to day will look like. I will have some specific duties, but I also will be in contact with pretty much every team of interns. As someone who loves collaboration and being able to help anywhere, that is a really important part of my job.
As an education minor, I spend a lot of time discussing education reform theories and thinking about the role social justice plays in education. If I learned anything this year, it is the importance of teachers going into classrooms not expecting to be heroes or saviors. These students do not need saving. They need a teacher that is critically conscious and intentional, and that is what Teach For America focuses on at their summer institute.
Like any good applicant, I did my research on the organization and I was thoroughly impressed. A lot of how TFA trains their new teachers and their missions and goals directly align with respected education theorist like Paulo Freire. He argued that teachers and students should be aware of the politics around education and that teachers should not treat low-income students like oppressed people they are “freeing.” It was really cool to see ideas match with what I was learning about and almost felt like a sign I was making the right choice during the application process.
By the end of the week, I will be in Houston! I’m originally from Texas. While I moved to North Carolina in the second grade, I still consider Texas very much as home. Houston is actually the only major city in Texas I’ve never been to, so I’m excited to explore the city during my free time.
What am I hoping to get out of this internship? Well, that sounds a little cold. I am hoping to put in just as much as I get out. Over the next six weeks I will be seeing first hand how a large scale nonprofit operates. Even better, for me, it’s a nonprofit dedicated to education reform. I look forward to the connections I will make, the lessons I will learn and the knowledge I will come back with to begin my senior year at the best university in the world