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May 29th, 2009
01:25 PM ET

Teaching 'Peace Corps' attracts recent graduates

Molly Greer, in her New York classroom, says she now wants to make teaching her career.

Molly Greer, in her New York classroom, says she now wants to make teaching her career.

By Deborah Feyerick and Sheila Steffen


NEW YORK -
Talking excitedly and pacing the front of her classroom, Molly Greer engages her students. "What are different paces you can go when you're reading aloud? Christina?"

"Low." "Okay, low or soft, yes."

On the first day of school, most of the kids in Greer's eighth-grade class could not read at a sixth-grade level. With summer almost here, it's a totally different story for these kids, who according to their school are expected to read at or near grade level. "It is an incredible thing for these students."

Greer graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin. She arrived at PS 212, the multicultural magnet school in the Bronx, New York, two years ago with a degree in political science and a desire to change the world.

"When I found out about Teach For America," she said, "I realized that teaching would be such an incredible way to make an impact."

Teach For America is like a local Peace Corps serving some of the country's poorest public schools in inner cities and in rural areas. It has grown every year since its inception in 1990, sending 20,000 college graduates into the nation's neediest classrooms for a two-year commitment. This year, amid a tight job market, it is more popular than ever.

According to the organizations Web site, their teachers get paid the same salary and benefits as beginning teachers in their area and are paid by the local school district.

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Filed under: Economy • Education
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