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Teach For America Q&A with Adrian Larbi-Cherif
Undergrad Institution: Univ. of Texas-El Paso, TX

Teach For America
www.teachforamerica.org

1) How did you decide to apply to Teach for America?

I applied for Teach For America because I always found teaching physics and mathematics challenging and rewarding. People often have a negative stigma associated with scientific information and theories, and I have found it interesting to learn how to communicate with people in order to get them past their initial hesitation.

2) What do you like most about teaching? ...like least?

I will begin teaching this summer and fall, but I have been a TA and a tutor in the past. So far what I have liked most about teaching is the "Eureka!" moment, i.e. when you realize that the pupil understands a concept.

As for least, I am not quite sure how to answer that. When I was a TA, grading was definitely my least favorite task. To come up with a rigid points system to grade everyone fairly can be tedious.

3) What kinds of things did you like to do within your SPS chapter? Is their a connection between your SPS activities and your decision to join Teach for America?

My interaction with the SPS at U.T. El Paso involved participation in several Physics Circuses to help educate children about physics in a fun and engaging manner. The Physics Circuses definitely helped heighten my interest in teaching.

4) Who are your favorite teachers, and what did they do to achieve that status?

I have had many teachers that are inspiring and effective. But, I would have to say that my third grade teacher Mrs. Maddox had the greatest impact. She was the first teacher who believed in my ability as a student and valued my unique approach to learning.

5) What would you say is an important consideration or piece of advice that you would give other SPS members who are thinking about applying to Teach for America?

If you enjoy explaining physics and science and are intrigued by the human thought process, then I think one should look into teaching. Teach For America provides a great opportunity to really jump into teaching by assigning a teaching location and providing intensive training. Also, Teach For America addresses the very important issue of inequity in education and helps underprivileged children be taught a high-standard education.

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