The University of Texas at Austin’s Teach for America recruitment team has decided to start highlighting some of the fantastic individuals who have signed on as corps members to hopefully inspire more people to tackle educational inequity head on in the classroom!
Our first featured member is Hannah French, a senior Public Relations student. Hannah will serve in an elementary school in San Antonio next year. During her time at UT, Hannah has been involved in Communication Council, the Ladybirds, Texas THON, and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Hannah decided to join Teach for America because she “knew [she] eventually wanted to teach, [she] just didn’t know [she] would do it right off the bat”. Hannah continued – “My involvement with kids has always been important to me…I’ve always wanted to work with kids. I got into Public Relations with the end goal of working with kids in some capacity, whether that was working for a non-profit or anything that benefited kids, but from a higher level than something in the classroom. I came from a family of teachers, and I always thought I could do something else. I soon realized I couldn’t do anything in higher education without being on the ground level, in the classroom, working with kids.”
Hannah’s experience in high school also had a major impact on the way she viewed the public school system. Hannah was part of the first graduating class of an early college high school, in which her classes were split between a community college and portables. It was there, after receiving a new principal, that she saw all the impact teachers had on their students – both positive and negative. “It was clear she was not interested in what was best for the school or the children, but was interested in what was best for her bosses or herself. Her door was always closed. I was valedictorian, and at my graduation I spoke about not conforming to expectations…she tried to change my speech the week of graduation. In education, if you have one person, that person can have an amazing or negative effect on the students. It’s not fair for students to have inconsistencies based on one person.”
Hannah hopes to either stay in the classroom after her two-year commitment with TFA or head into higher education policy. Her advice to current students considering the program? “Make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. Teaching isn’t a profession that’s going to come easy; it’s going to require a lot of time and long hours, but also just a lot of passion for what you’re doing. If you’re passionate about kids and education, it’s definitely something you should consider.”
Stay tuned for more 2017 Corps Member features! If you have any interest in applying, talk to our Recruitment Manager, Jorge Galan. He can be reached at Jorge.Galan@teachforamerica.org.
Written by Sara Leonard
Moody College of Communication | Political Communication
College of Liberal Arts | English Honors