Date of Award

Spring 6-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Karen Monkman

Second Advisor

Hilary Conklin

Third Advisor

Gonzalo Obelleiro


This study examines the capacity of neoliberalism and organizational socialization to shape alternatively certified teachers’ preparation and understanding of their teaching roles within the context of Teach for America. Using theoretical lenses of both neoliberalism and organizational socialization, I conducted a qualitative study on Teach for America teachers’ previous educational experiences, participation in the program, and the impact of this preparation on their careers post-teaching. None of the five participants are currently classroom teachers. Data collection included semi-structured interviews and critical discourse analysis of program documents. Findings reveal how participants’ educational and program experiences challenged their initial conceptions of teaching and learning and left them minimally prepared and supported for the pedagogical and sociopolitical components of teaching in high-needs areas. Conclusions illuminate TFA’s efforts to shape participants’ understanding of teaching and learning—framing teaching as a temporary career—in order to create and sustain a broader movement in education and beyond that is reflective of neoliberal ideas. Recommendations for future research encourage the investigation of teacher preparation organizations as social and political actors, along with calling for a larger, more collective investment in teacher education.