After my UCLA interview, I took the opportunity to get the contact information from one of our interviewers, a current teacher / TEP grad, and then proceeded to email her with a few questions.
I’m sharing excerpts of her e-mail with you, just to share the wealth! (of information). I omitted her personal information, specific answers to my questions, and other “extraneity”. I just wanted to share the enthusiasm of a TEP grad.
Oh my, this could be a long email if you want to hear me expound on all the virtues of being a TEP graduate. I absolutely love the program; it’s prepared me in so many ways and has given me tons of connections. To be honest, I’m not sure how any teacher ed program can fully prepare you for the classroom (the best way to learn is just to be in there), but the program really created a solid foundation for my knowledge of urban schooling issues and politics, shaped my teaching philosophy, and really has just solidified my belief in what I’m doing with my life; although I’ve been everywhere and traveled a ton and switched jobs a few times, there’s nothing I’d rather do than teach, wherever I am.
It has been hard […] in the state of the current economy, but I’ve been lucky with all my schooling and job experiences. Also, I know that if I chose to come back to LA, I could find a job pretty easily with all my personal and UCLA connections I’ve made (we have a pretty good reputation all over LAUSD).
Right now I’m working at a charter school […], which is an independent study program for kids who are really credit-deficient or are working towards their GEDs. I miss the traditional classroom, but I do like this job because I get to work closely with and really get to know an urban population, and my school works with different social services and work partnership programs. And my schedule is super flexible with great vacation time =)
I honestly wouldn’t have done anything differently. I mean, I know people who have stayed in LA and are at the same jobs and are very happy, I have a good friend who is [in] DC now interning for the Department of Education and has done other amazing things. It seems to me that the UCLA TEP really opened up doors for all the people I was in the program with.
So best of luck with everything! Choosing a career as a teacher (as Obama also endorsed in his last State of the Union address) is a great thing to do.