Nov. 29, 2006
Michael Whaley, a 2006 SMU public policy graduate, never planned to become a teacher. “(It’s) the one thing I swore many times I would never be,” he says. Nevertheless, Whaley is one of the 2,400 applicants accepted by Teach for America from a pool of more than 17,000. The 2002 Richardson High School graduate participated in the Teach for America Institute this summer in preparation for the next two years he will spend as a teacher.
Teach for America is a national organization of college graduates who commit to teach for two years after graduation in underprivileged schools. Whaley was drawn to Teach for America because of its “steadfast commitment to ensure that every child, regardless of social class, economic status or race, is given a real opportunity to achieve their potential.”
Whaley currently is teaching language arts and literacy to first graders at an elementary school in south Memphis. “[The kids] are really eager to learn and succeed, and I know if I continue to raise my expectations of them and their expectations of themselves, they will go very far in life,” he said. Whaley has a positive outlook on his future in education. “I anticipate that two years from now, I’ll be a changed person. I’m just focused on doing the best job I can here.”
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