The Achaean Times
Teach for America candidates continue to impact HerronMonday, May 07, 2012 By Leah Grynheim
The white piece of chalk slowly scratches the board creating a deafening blast, which echoes through the classroom full of worn desks and assertive students. The teacher swiftly glances over her shoulder sending a quick apology to her students, and then just as smoothly continues teaching in a powerful voice that you can’t help but pay attention to. Teaching is not an easy task; it is anything but a task, it’s a skill. Teaching is not something you can simply perform and get right. To be a good teacher you need to be a leader who cares about making a difference in the work that you do and the student’s lives you could change. Teach for America creates these kinds of teachers. Teach for America is a non-profit organization aimed at “closing the achievement gap” in America, for all students, no matter what kind of economic background they came from, can achieve well at school. Teach for America trains recent college graduates to become strong teachers and sends them to 43 different urban public schools around the country to teach for two years. Herron High School is lucky enough as to have two Teach for America teachers currently serving at the school. Neither Mr. Pease nor Ms. Bercovitz initially planned on becoming teachers in college. Mr. Pease majored in theater at Indiana University Southeast and became inspired to become involved with Teach for America by his wife, who is a Corps member at Harshman Middle School. Ms. Bercovitz majored in biology and minored in chemistry and Spanish at Indiana University. She became interested in teaching during her senior year of college and was able to teach through Teach for America. Mr. Pease, a social studies teacher, and Ms. Bercovitz, a math teacher, are Teach for America corps members who currently teaching their first year at Herron High School school. The process of being accepted into the Teach for America program is a very difficult one. Only around 11% of applicants get accepted, which makes Teach for America one of the more difficult interview processes in the United States to be accepted too. “The application process for Teach for America involves an initial application and personal essay, after which you proceed to a phone interview and personal interview. The personal interview lasts an entire day and involves presenting a short lesson plan, taking part in a group interview, and taking part in an hour-long personal interview. After the final interview stage, you are informed of whether or not you have been offered a position as a TFA corps member,” said Ms. Bercovitz. After Ms. Bercovitz and Mr. Pease survived the multiple rounds of interviewing they underwent training to become strong and effective teachers in their community, and still take classes, even now, to ensure they are having the most impact that they can possibly achieve on students learning. Being involved in Teach for America has profited both Ms. Bercovitz and Mr. Pease in many ways. “Teach for America, first off, has opened my eyes to the disadvantages low income families face when it comes education,” said Mr. Pease, “It has made me realize it takes a lot more to become a really great teacher for you can make changes for students.” Many Teach for America alumni remain teachers after their initial two years of teaching. Both Ms. Bercovitz and Mr. Pease are still undecided about where they will go after their Teach for America time is up, but they both agree they can see themselves always involved in the education world. “Teaching at Herron has made me realize my passion for education and educational equality. Although I do not know at this point exactly what my future will hold, I intend to stay involved with education in one way or another long term,” said Ms. Bercovitz. Mr. Pease and Ms. Bercovitz know that teaching can have a huge impact when you know you are making a difference in student’s lives “Teaching is the most worthwhile work you can do, and when you do it right there is no other job that can change the world more,” said Mr. Pease. Herron High School has let Ms. Bercovitz and Mr. Pease fully blossom into teachers. “It has been a neat experience being involved with Teach for America,” said Ms. Bercovitz, “but I have been most impacted by being a part of the Herron community. Teach for America provided me the opportunity to become a teacher, but Herron has provided me the opportunity to develop and truly be a teacher,” said Ms. Bercovitz. Many people only focus on the bad in the world. When you learn about programs like Teach for America don’t you feel like that darkness isn’t quite so deep? There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and in its glow it is teaching kids that no matter where they came from, they can achieve greatness.