Training and Support Received by Teach for America Corps Members in Eastern North Carolina

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Chen, Fei

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Many teachers in the past decade have chosen to obtain teaching certification through alterative routes, and Teach for America (TFA) is one of the most popular programs offering alternative certification today. Much of the research shows that despite having no traditional training, TFA teachers are just as effective, and sometimes more effective, than traditionally certified teachers in high-needs schools. Through interviews with directors and corps members, this study examines the types of and quality of training and support programs offered by TFA to its corps members in Eastern North Carolina. The interview questions are based on the elements of training and support cited by the literature as most critical to the success of alternative certification programs. Overall, TFA teachers and program staff believed that TFA provides quality training and support systems for the program’s purposes. Although corps members did not feel that training adequately prepared them for the classroom, they believed that it fulfills TFA’s goals of providing basic teaching skills and developing leadership skills. Some of the corps members also said that despite traditionally prepared teachers’ stronger body of knowledge, TFA teachers had higher levels of determination and grit. The softer skills that TFA instills in its corps members combined with the strong academic background they come with could outweigh the technical teaching education they lack and allow them to be effective teachers in underserved, under-performing classrooms.


This is an undergraduate honors thesis written for Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.




Chen, Fei (2012). Training and Support Received by Teach for America Corps Members in Eastern North Carolina. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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