Taking a Turn TeachingGAMBIER, Ohio (July 13, 2009)
Kenyon is a leader among colleges whose graduates are helping to level the educational playing field by enlisting with Teach for America.
Sixteen recent graduates were selected to join the 2009 teaching corps, placing Kenyon fourth on the list of small colleges. Recent graduates are asked to spend two years teaching in troubled inner-city or rural schools.
"Kenyon is attended by a lot of civically minded young adults," said George C. Williams '06, who was selected for the program and taught in an elementary school in East Feliciana Parish in Louisiana during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years. "I think the students (at Kenyon) are socially conscientious and interested in giving back. You can see that by the number of service-oriented organizations at the school. And the Greek community does a tremendous amount of community service."
The exposure to teaching and the cultivation of relationships with students and families was an empowering experience for Williams. "It was very much life-changing and gave me a new perspective," he said. "You are put in a situation where you will be challenged, and Kenyon gave me the background to really respond to those challenges."
Williams now works at an investment-management firm in Washington, D.C. He kept a journal about his time teaching and may turn that material into a book. An edited portion was published in the Fall 2008 edition of the Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin.
The non-profit Teach for America fielded 35,000 applications from those interested in the program. About 4,100 new teachers from 500 colleges and universities were selected for the 2009-10 school year, bringing the teaching corps to about 7,300. Based in New York City, Teach for America has benefitted more than 3 million students around the country since its founding in 1990.