Why I Stayed in Alabama

Katie Tomten (Alabama ’12) teaches French at Huffman High School. She shares what inspires her work and why she calls Alabama home.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
A headshot of a young woman with long dark hair, wearing a white sweater and standing in front of a grey background.

How has TFA impacted you? Teach for America has taught me the true meaning of this idea, originally voiced by an Aboriginal activist group in the 1970s: I am not here to help or to save. I am in this city and in my classroom because my life and work is intricately tied to the liberation of my community. This requires me to work in equal and productive partnership with others.

What is your favorite TFA memory? My favorite TFA memory was attending the 25th Anniversary in Washington, DC this past February. It was truly amazing to be surrounded by thousands of educators, policy-makers, CEOs, administrators and school founders. I loved seeing Corps Members from the past and present together in one space, and I especially enjoyed visiting with other regions and sharing our stories. It was a great event to remind me that I am not alone in the work that I do.

Why did you choose to continue your work in education in Alabama? I stayed in the classroom in Alabama because of the amazing students I have had the pleasure to meet. Even though I am far from my hometown, the people that I have met here have become a part of my family.