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King University News :: King Senior Tyler Stanley Accepted to Teach For America Program

Tyler Stanley started out at King College four years ago with the intention of studying Athletic Training and progressing on to Physical Therapy.  Today, he is a senior English major, Political Science minor, and Snider Honors Fellow with aspirations of law school.  With graduation on the horizon, Stanley has taken a leap of faith, committing the next two years of his life to the Teach For America program. 

Teach For America (TFA) is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity.  Today, more than 9,000 corps members are teaching in 43 regions across the country, while nearly 24,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity.

“I had planned on attending law school after graduation from King,” said Stanley.  “A friend and King College alumni pointed me towards Teach For America.  Initially, I was skeptical as to how it would fit into my already determined career path.  The opportunity presented itself to talk extensively with King alumni and former Teach For America participant, Warren Beck (’08), about his experience teaching eighth grade special education in New York City, N.Y.  Everyone I talked with had such a passion for the program.  It became an opportunity I could not ignore.  The more I found out about Teach For America, the more I wanted to know.”

Teach For America was started in an attempt to eliminate education inequality.  TFA works to close the gap between economically disadvantaged students and their peers who are not economically disadvantaged.  “They strive to push all kids to achieve at the same standards, regardless of economic means,” commented Stanley.

TFA is open to anyone who meets their requirements.  “You do not have to be an education major or have a teaching certificate as a prerequisite in order to be part of the TFA program,” said Stanley.  “Their rigorous application process helps narrow the applicant field to those who will be qualified teachers.  TFA’s team includes people from a variety of disciplines such as students straight out of college as well as working professionals in business and government.

Teach For America selects corps members based on leadership potential and other traits that distinguish their most successful teachers. Over the last 20 years, they have learned that it isn’t a specific personality type or background that helps predict success in the classroom. What you’ll find among TFA’s most effective corps members is a pattern of excelling with any work they prioritize.

The Teach For America program centers on community service and fosters the philosophy of giving back.  Stanley will serve for two years in the Southern Ohio/Cincinnati metro area.  This is the first year TFA has had a presence in this region.

Initially, Stanley will complete the certification process for non-education majors.  “Although I am not an education major, TFA will provide the means and opportunity to receive the appropriate certifications for the state I will teach in,” said Stanley.  “The certification requirement can differ depending on the state, but TFA does a great job providing the necessary tools to complete the appropriate certifications.  In some cases, participants are required to obtain their master’s degree. 

“I am not sure, as of yet, of the exact school with which I will be placed, but it will likely be with elementary or middle school grades.  The one aspect that is certain is I will be teaching special needs children.  It is likely to be multi-grade levels due to the nature of how many special needs classes are designed.

“Part of the adventure is that many aspects are still undetermined.  Although I am an English major, I may or may not be teaching English.  I will be there to do whatever needs to be done.  It is a leap of faith.  King College instills the core value of stewardship to all students, which interconnects perfectly with Teach For America’s vision of community service.”

The concept of stewardship at King is one meant to continue beyond the classroom.  “Warren Beck wasn’t someone I had ever met.  We were never at King at the same time, but we share King in common and now Teach For America.  I remember, during the first week of my classes at King during freshman core English, Dr. Craig McDonald was talking about a particular student who he felt epitomized King’s mission statement, a person who was teaching eighth grade special education students in New York through Teach for America.  Several years later I discovered the student Dr. McDonald had referred to was actually Warren Beck and that I would be following a similar path in the Teach For America program, also working with special education students.”

After TFA participants complete their required two-years, they become TFA alumni.  Many alumni continue to teach in their placement school, while others may make a move to teach in other charter schools or continue to serve in a variety of ways. 

“While at King, the cross-cultural experience provides students with a greater sense of community.  The easy path would be to graduate, go on to law school, and work as a lawyer until my retirement.  The value of community and stewardship King instills in its students brought me to a very different life path than I had initially imagined for myself.  I am excited to begin this new adventure and see where this path leads.”

While at King, Stanley has served as a member of the Student Government Association, for which he is currently, a senior senator.  He is also a member of King’s track and field team, as well as a member of the Student Governing Board for the Buechner Institute.