I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

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sold123
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby sold123 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:04 pm

lhess218 wrote:Yes.... and no. If you have a legitimate reason to leave and can explain it succinctly, then no. If you didn't and (more importantly) you didn't do anything afterwards, then yes. Keep in mind, even doing some heavy-duty volunteering would probably help: heavy duty meaning more than once a week for a couple of hours.

I left an Americorps program similar to TFA for a number of reasons: my husband was deploying to Afghanistan, I was offered a full-time civilian position with Army JAG, and there were some serious problems within the actual Americorps program. If you left TFA to sit around and do nothing (and can't spin it in a way that doesn't seem like you sat around and did nothing), then yeah, I'd say it'd hurt you.

FWIW, I'm including my Americorps program on my resume and an addendum. I still did Americorps (even if I didn't finish), and I loved what I did and what I accomplished. It just didn't work out the way I wanted.


I like this answer. I have no answer, except for if I imagine my self (Sold123) in an admissions office:

If I were an admissions officer I would think: "This kid better have a damn good excuse for not completing something like TFA. I don't like quitters. In fact. I hate them. HATE them. At the same time I know it's difficult to complete something as strenuous as TFA. At the same time I hate quitters. HATE them. At the same time I know that, well, shit ain't easy being in the field. at the same time I hate quitters. HATE them."

Thank god I'm not making decisions.

EDIT:

This seems harsh in retrospect. If your numbers are over my school's median I probably won't hold it against you. Unless I interview you and am so blinded by disgust I can't see straight. No, I kid, I kid.

I think, just focus on really explaining your reason for leaving.

Every reason, is a good reason if you can explain it well from your perspective. Assuming you didn't leave to kill and eat babies.

2nd EDIT:

Ok, I can see as how this seems as if I'm not taking the issue seriously. It is serious. You just need to write it so that the admissions officer can elicit some sympathy for you. I'm sure there are good legitimate, personal reasons for your leaving, you just really have to explore that and explain it. However, the best I think you can do is turn this from a negative into a non-issue. It would take some mighty good writing to turn this into a positive somehow (even if that "positiveness" should be the thrust of your essay. That this was a positive experience for you, you learned something about it, you learned something about commitments, maturity, what-not, whatever it is that you learned). In general, we love the smell of redemption, right? Make us smell it. Tasting would be even better. Digesting, digesting is damn hard but try. Make that positive stuff the thrust.
Last edited by sold123 on Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby Stanford4Me » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:20 pm

Yes it will.

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BiglawOrBust
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby BiglawOrBust » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:31 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:Yes it will.


I like this guy.

zephyr36
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby zephyr36 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:56 pm

I definitely didn't quit just so I could do nothing. I still have to have an income after all. I just really realized that teaching was not for me. I have some unique legal experience including dealing with the trial of a well-known terrorist, and I am planning on finding a law job. I'm hoping this will convince schools that it's unlikely that I will have a similar change of heart with law.

As far as omitting it from my resume, I'll decide later depending on what I end up doing. My last job before TFA was working in a restaurant, and I'd like to show that I at least tried to do some substantive things.

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Bodhi_mind
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby Bodhi_mind » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:46 pm

I think it's best to omit it from your resume. Restaurant work is better to have on your resume than a teaching job for 2 months (one of my jobs is as a server). And I agree with the poster who said omission doesn't equal concealing something. If asked about my experience I would give a short answer and move on. People won't dig in your past or really find out about something about that so just move on.

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cogitoergosum
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby cogitoergosum » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:15 pm

Bodhi_mind wrote:I think it's best to omit it from your resume. Restaurant work is better to have on your resume than a teaching job for 2 months (one of my jobs is as a server). And I agree with the poster who said omission doesn't equal concealing something. If asked about my experience I would give a short answer and move on. People won't dig in your past or really find out about something about that so just move on.

FWIW, I agree with those who have suggested omitting it from your resume. There is no rule, said or unsaid, that says your resume must include all of your employment experiences. If it were a 5-year kind of thing, maybe I would think about putting it because the gap might look worse than including it, but in this case, I really don't think you need to talk about it.

I understand what you are saying about full disclosure, but there is a difference between being honest and unnecessarily making yourself look bad. Leave it off resumes and personal statements, and if anyone asks you about it in the admissions process, you can provide them with a brief description of what happened. I think it's one of those things that is only a big deal if you make it a big deal.

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homestyle28
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby homestyle28 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:21 pm

I don't think it will hurt you that much in the admissions process...but I think you gave up a killer advantage come job search season

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Bodhi_mind
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby Bodhi_mind » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:45 pm

Agree w/ Cogito. There's nothing wrong with leaving it out.

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ccs224
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby ccs224 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:42 am

Unless you did a full year, I don't think you should even bother mentioning it. If it was under six months, leave a gap in your resume - you were straight out of undergrad and kids often take breaks, do odd jobs not worthy of mention on a resume, etc. You have a decent job that followed it up, so I wouldn't worry. Similarly, I wouldn't mention it in any of your essays.

If it was over six months, put it in your resume and perhaps include it in your personal statements. It's not hard to spin leaving teaching - "I joined TFA to make a positive impact on the educational opportunities of society's most neglected children. I quickly realized, however, that 6th grade spelling was not the solution to educational inequity and decided the law was a more powerful way to respond to injustice. I was also interested in making a lot of money."

There's no TFA-drop out list that is sent around to schools; if you don't mention it, it won't matter. If you were there long enough for it to matter, it's not difficult to make it matter in a good way.

Edit: TFA is hard - not crazy crazy hard, but definitely not a fun way to spend your early 20s (I know, been there). If you're tempted to include it to say "I was accepted in to TFA!" or "I did an important thing!" avoid the temptation; law school, without throwing your face into the terrible fuckedupness of poverty and social disfunction, is also hard, and probably harder in admin's eyes, so quitting won't look great. Again, avoid disclosing if you can, spin to the positive if not.

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ladybug89
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby ladybug89 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:50 am

Agree. 2 months is such a short amount of time that it's really not dishonest to leave it out.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:03 am

NotoriousIIED wrote:Not a big deal. You quit on a bunch of kids that are used to having people quit on them all the time. Addcomms will understand. I love that this is your major concern.


Whoa, that's cold!
But honestly, I don't think starting and then abruptly quitting ever looks good, regardless of whether it involves underprivileged kids. My guess is that it will probably hurt you if you just leave it untouched, so I vote that you write an addendum.

kahechsof
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby kahechsof » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:30 am

Definitely leave it off.
Unless they specifically ask for every job you ever worked, I don't see it as dishonest to leave off jobs. You would have no issue leaving off a job in baskin[g] robins.

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3v3ryth1ng
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby 3v3ryth1ng » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:35 am

kahechsof wrote:Definitely leave it off.
Unless they specifically ask for every job you ever worked, I don't see it as dishonest to leave off jobs. You would have no issue leaving off a job in baskin[g] robins.


Yeah, definitely wouldn't include a job like that either. Basking Robins? Sounds like a pet store that sells lazy birds...

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ladybug89
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby ladybug89 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:48 am

hahaha.

3v3ryth1ng wrote:
kahechsof wrote:Definitely leave it off.
Unless they specifically ask for every job you ever worked, I don't see it as dishonest to leave off jobs. You would have no issue leaving off a job in baskin[g] robins.


Yeah, definitely wouldn't include a job like that either. Basking Robins? Sounds like a pet store that sells lazy birds...

minnesotasam
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby minnesotasam » Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:14 am

You make me mad OP. I imagine that there are some adcomms who would feel the same way.

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cogitoergosum
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby cogitoergosum » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:18 am

Just noticed last night that the Fordham app asks you to list all employment and internship positions. It asks the reason for leaving each. If any of your schools require this, of course you should disclose it, but still, don't make a big deal out of it. Reason for leaving: Pursuing legal education.

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emkay625
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby emkay625 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:44 am

As a current corps member, I know one girl who did this in our corps. She got into Chicago. (But she was at/above both medians).

I think people are right when they say what you plan on doing now is what will spin this. She moved to Haiti to volunteer full time with the relief effort there - sleeping in a tent and working each day on building a water system back up for one town. She also had her principal write her a letter of rec basically saying "Ms. XXXXXX left, but she discussed it with the kids beforehand and they all supported her decision to work in Haiti." She also would send them video updates throughout the year and stuff.

So I think first, you need to find something substantial to do - full-time employment or some serious volunteer work, and once that is secured then start worrying about how to spin it.

bartleby
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby bartleby » Wed Oct 12, 2011 10:09 am

I think it won't hurt at all unless you're applying to like Berkeley or Stanford or something. I definitely do not agree with the Haiti thing. Why would you quit TFA to help out other poor kids? That seems to me like you're just indecisive, not that you want to help the world.

I would be straight up about it and spin it the right way. Just like you said, you thought it was something you were passionate about, you wanted to make a difference, you turned down opportunities, but you realized you could not provide what the kids needed. It happens. I think if you spun it the right way, people would even respect you for making your decision. This isn't like you ditched Easy Company in the trenches. Definitely don't say you quit because you didn't like it.

zephyr36
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby zephyr36 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:27 pm

.
Last edited by zephyr36 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ccs224
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby ccs224 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:54 pm

Ugh, cut everything after the first two sentences. It basically reads "but I really sucked at teaching" and the part about you and your supervisor agreeing that it would be better for your kids if you left implies not just that you quit, but that you were almost asked to. Does not look good. Whatever your reasons were for leaving, you need not state them all. State the ones that make you look good, which in my opinion, should be something along the lines of "However, once I entered the classroom I realized that the best way for me to address educational inequity was not to use the chalkboard but to use the law."

The admissions office isn't your priest and you don't have to confess everything to them. Make yourself look the best you can - it's expected. If you have to address it (which I don't think you should), spin it much harder.

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Bodhi_mind
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby Bodhi_mind » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:16 pm

Any addendum you write will not make you look good. You aren't being noble or anything by trying to disclose that you quit this job; it's only going to make you look bad to adcomms. Sometimes shit doesn't work out and you quit a job, just move on and no one will ask you questions about your past. If they do just answer shortly and move on. I was worried about this too when I quit TFA, but then I just got a couple jobs and started working and it hasn't really affected me.

OnceUponAMemo
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby OnceUponAMemo » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:26 pm

It's also complete BS to say you thought this would help your kids in the long run.

Having a year long sub who is even less qualified than a starry-eyed recent grad is supposed to help them because you couldn't handle the heat of dealing with real issues?


TL/DR: Your addendum makes you sound petulant.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby Bildungsroman » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:30 pm

OnceUponAMemo wrote:It's also complete BS to say you thought this would help your kids in the long run.

Seriously. Nobody is going to buy the idea that you quit TFA because you thought it would be better for the students.

zephyr36
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby zephyr36 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:38 pm

OnceUponAMemo wrote:It's also complete BS to say you thought this would help your kids in the long run.

Having a year long sub who is even less qualified than a starry-eyed recent grad is supposed to help them because you couldn't handle the heat of dealing with real issues?


TL/DR: Your addendum makes you sound petulant.


If by "couldn't handle the heat of dealing with real issues" you mean that I had literally no education experience aside from 5 weeks at TFA institute which is nothing like actual teaching, and I realized that I was not at all equipped to deal with what teaching in these schools required.

If you're going to give me constructive feedback, that's one thing, but don't start making baseless generalizations.

I realize how it will sound, so I'll omit it but I do think that it's better for the kids in the long-run. I worked it so that the kids wouldn't need to have a sub. Instead, a vet teacher came in and is now doing things with these kids that I don't think I could have ever done as a first year teacher.

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ccs224
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Re: I quit Teach for America; will this hurt me?

Postby ccs224 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:48 pm

OnceUponAMemo wrote:Having a year long sub who is even less qualified than a starry-eyed recent grad


TFA members are about as prepared to teach as any randomly selected individual from the street. I wouldn't overestimate to value of having a 22 year old teacher with no experience, nor would I assume that the only alternative is a perma-sub.

Starry-eyed grads are actually one of the worst parts of the TFA program. The idea that one is engaging in some awesome, progressive action is emphasized, while the actual reality, and drudgery, of teaching is not. Thus, you end up with people entering who, thinking they will change the educational system by two years in an underserved school, look around and say "Oh, this is bullshit."
Last edited by ccs224 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.




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