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Teach For America Counter-Narratives

Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out


Edited By Jameson T. Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais

In its twenty-five years of existence, Teach For America (TFA) has transformed from an organization based on a perceived need to ameliorate a national teacher shortage to an organization that seeks to systematically replace traditional fully-certified teachers while simultaneously producing alumni who are interested in facilitating neoliberal education reform through elected political positions. From its inception, TFA has had its share of critics; yet criticism of the organization by its own members and alumni has largely been silenced and relegated to the margins.
This book – the first of its kind – provides alumni of TFA with the opportunity to share their insight on the organization. And perhaps more importantly, this collection of counter-narratives serves as a testament that many of the claims made by TFA are, in fact, myths that ultimately hurt teachers and students. No longer will alumni voices be silenced in the name of corporate and neoliberal education reform.
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Chapter Two: The Blip on the Resume or the Seed of Social Justice?: The Eight-Year Impact of Eight Months with Teach For America



The Blip on the Resume or the Seed of Social Justice?: The Eight-Year Impact of Eight Months with Teach For America

ERIN M. NOLAN St. Louis, 2007–2008


After earning a B.S. in physics from Michigan State University, Erin M. Nolan moved to St. Louis as a Teach For America corps member. Lasting less than a school year, she nevertheless loved teaching and her new city, and spent the next 4 years as an informal educator with the Saint Louis Science Center. Traveling to schools and community groups across the region exposed Erin to students of a wide variety of ages, abilities, races, and socioeconomic statuses, and she is now exploring the importance of such issues by pursuing a doctoral degree in education from Washington University in St. Louis, focusing on informal science education and the social context of education. A firm believer in the power of committed community involvement, she serves as a Sunday school teacher, a “Big Sister,” an English as a second language tutor, and a public radio station volunteer.


In June 2007 I loaded up my hand-me-down 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix and left metro Detroit as my typical joyful, confident, emotionally healthy self. As strip malls, trees, and eventually cornfields passed by my window, thought-provoking experiments, dazzling demonstrations, and powerful pep talks flitted through my ← 25 | 26 → brain. The western sky was still aglow when I reached St. Louis, the...

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