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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Life After Wofford

Sami+Lyons+%E2%80%9920%2C+who+majored+in+Spanish+and+Finance%2C+is+currently+serving+with+Teach+For+America+in+Fort+Worth%2C+Texas.+Photo+courtesy+of+Sami+Lyons.
Sami Lyons ’20, who majored in Spanish and Finance, is currently serving with Teach For America in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo courtesy of Sami Lyons.

Teach For America

For upperclassmen, life after college can be stressful and overwhelming to think about. With so many options ranging from graduate school programs, getting a professional job or joining a service program, the possibilities are truly endless. 

Teach for America is a program that hires college graduates and sends them into communities across the United States to serve as teachers for grades pre-K through 12. The goal of the program is to “work toward the day when every child will receive an excellent and equitable education.” 

In order to facilitate this goal, Teach for America seeks out leaders who are committed to expanding opportunity for low-income students, beginning with at least two years teaching in a public school. 

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Sami Lyons ’20, who majored in Spanish and Finance at Wofford, is currently serving with Teach For America in Fort Worth, Texas. When asked how she got involved with the program, she said, “The Wofford Spanish Department was an advocate for its students to volunteer their time with the community that surrounded the college. The volunteerism that was encouraged by the Spanish Department helped me realize I wanted to be a part of the catalyst for change in education in America. The nudge to be a part of something that would contribute to our future in education is what drew me to get involved in TFA.”

As COVID-19 has affected teachers all across the world, Lyons shared, “My days tend to be spent on my feet trying to toggle back and forth between a hybrid classroom of a broad spectrum of learners. Just like there’s no true typical student, there is no typical day at school. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants most days, and I work to give my students the best education I can with the very small amount of experience I have.” 

Lyons  enjoys getting to collaborate with teachers and spending time with her students. Additionally, she said, “TFA has taught me that once you learn better, you do better. Until you acknowledge that you are coming from a place of inexperience and a need for growth: you will remain stagnant.”

However, taking on the role of being a teacher is no small feat. According to Lyons, her biggest challenge is inexperience. She said, “TFA gives you a crash course in education over the summer, so you are learning something for the first time almost every day. I’ve come to realize that this challenges the main mission statement of TFA: to strengthen the movement for educational equity for all of America. The inexperience I have transfers to the students of my classroom. Those students, all those that are in a school with TFA, are already disproportionately affected by social, racial and economic inequities. At times my inexperience makes me feel like I am only widening a disproportionate education gap rather than contributing to its closure.”

Currently, Lyons is also pursuing a master’s degree  in Urban Education through Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. After her time with Teach for America she said, “I hope to work for some type of non-profit or social responsibility where I can advocate for change and bring ignored or overlooked persons to the forefront of our minds and equip them with the resources they need to improve the America we live in.”

For any Wofford Student interested in serving with Teach For America, Lyons advises, “Teach For America portrays the perfect America to young idealists; an America where we have no educational injustices and no knowledge gaps. Before considering TFA I highly encourage each potential member to think critically about their roles and privileges in our society and what they want to contribute to the American public education system.” 

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