Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty Years of Service to the Student

Alumni Q&A

Life After K with Sam Foran K’15

Foran and her students with TFA (Photo courtesy of Sam Foran K’15). Foran and her students with TFA (Photo courtesy of Sam Foran K’15).

Q: Can you talk about how you’ve spent your life since graduating from K?

A: Immediately after graduation (literally 24 hours later) I moved to Hartford, Connecticut, to begin my work with Teach for America Connecticut. I’ve spent the last two years teaching middle school Social Studies at Rawson STEAM School to some of the most amazing kids in the world, while working on my master’s degree in education from Johns Hopkins University and navigating adulthood.

Q: Have you moved? How have you been adjusting to life in your new home? Is it radically different than Kalamazoo?

A: I moved from Kalamazoo to Hartford, Connecticut, and it definitely is different. There really is no place like the Midwest, and I still occasionally have a bit of New England culture shock. People aren’t as chatty with strangers, but I’ve grown to really love that. Hartford is a funny little city. It’s the capital of Connecticut, but it’s also completely ignored by the rest of the state. Over the past two years, I’ve really made this place home and I love it. I miss the quirkiness of Kalamazoo, but Hartford definitely has its own fair share of weirdness, like their minor league baseball team, the Yardgoats.

Q: What do you do for work now? Does it pertain to the major you graduated with?

A: I’m wrapping up my second year of teaching, preparing to go into year three. I also work for TFA as a Transition Team Leader, guiding incoming corps members into their time in the corps. I really love this work. I’m incredibly passionate about the mission, and all the critiques I have of the organization make me want to work even harder to improve it. Fighting educational inequity has become my life’s purpose and TFA has given me so many opportunities to build my leadership.

I was a history major, so teaching Social Studies definitely pertains to my major. That being said, my love of history sometimes makes it hard to teach because I have to determine what narrative of history I’m teaching my kids. History Senior Seminar certainly stuck with me (shout out to Dr. Lewis!) But my love of history allows me to geek out about things to my kids and get them to geek out with me.

Q: How did you get into your line of work?

A: I was super lost my senior year, totally unsure of what I wanted to do. I considered working in politics or fashion but I wasn’t even sure what that meant. Then, TFA recruited me and I got accepted. I took a giant leap of faith and moved to Connecticut and I’m so glad I did.

Q: What experiences during your time at K do you think prepared you for this job?

A: Well, my time at K definitely taught me how to handle stress and teaching (while attending grad school) certainly has been stressful and challenging to say the least.

Also, K really turned me toward social justice and leadership through the various StuOrgs I was involved in, particularly as I worked on Student Commission. K really opened my eyes to the inequities in the world and gave me the passion to fight them. I’m doing a Social Justice Unit with my 7th graders right now, having a lot of conversations about privilege and systemic issues. None of this would have been possible without the experiences I had at K.

Q: What advice do you have for students who are graduating in June? Or even for students who are still going through K and trying to decide what they are passionate about?

A: Follow your intuition and take risks. I seriously had no idea what I wanted to do post grad and if you would have told me two years ago that I’d be a middle school social studies teacher in Connecticut, I don’t think I ever would have believed you. But I took a risk and moved out here, and that risk has definitely been rewarded.

Q: What’s next?

A: Even though my two years with TFA are coming to a close, I’m teaching at my school for one more year. I finish up my master’s degree in January. And then, who knows? I’d like to work in education policy and possibly move to another city out on this coast, maybe Boston or D.C. I really love it out here, and I’m excited to see what my future holds!

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Life After K with Sam Foran K’15