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Teach for America seeks Class of 2006

Information session to be held tonight

Jennifer Page (UNI'06) and Cole Farnum (CAS'06) are helping Teach for America recruit at the University.

Joining the Teach for America service corps offers a number of standard benefits for recent college graduates, such as a salary, health insurance, and a chance to gain valuable work experience. But it’s the not-so-standard benefits — like the chance to work in communities that desperately need good teachers — that draw most college seniors to the program.

“You know that whatever you go into, there’s going to be an opportunity to help 80 students’ lives,” says Cole Farnum (CAS’06), one of the Teach for America recruitment managers at Boston University.

A record number of students and recent graduates applied to Teach for America this year, according to the New York Times — more than 17,000 nationwide — and the organization currently has about 3,700 teachers. At BU, 112 students applied to the program last year, and 19 joined the corps; this year, as the October 30 application deadline approaches, local recruiters are working hard to ensure that the number rises.

“We post flyers, we chalk the sidewalk, we do presentations to student groups,” says Jennifer Page (UNI’06), the other campus campaign manager. “We’re basically all over campus.”

Teach for America, founded in 1990, gives recent college graduates provisional certification to teach elementary and high school in high-need, low-income communities. Teachers are placed into a school system for two years and receive full salary and health benefits throughout the program; participants can often receive financial assistance for graduate school after completing their two-year stint.

Page says she decided she wanted to participate in the program when she realized that her own experience in a public school system surpassed that of many of her peers. “It really struck me how vastly unfair this is,” she says. “We can’t really expect kids to succeed if we’re not providing them with equal educational opportunities.”

The application, which can be found online at www.teachforamerica.org, requires a letter of intent, a short essay, and a résumé. The first deadline to apply for the 2006 corps is October 30; the second deadline is February 17.

Farnum and Page will hold an information session on Monday, October 17, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 322 of the George Sherman Union. Lauren Soutiere (CAS’03), who participated in Teach for America, will talk about her experience.