TFA and ’09 Mac alum Franz Meyer

By Rachel Adler

TMW’s Rachel Adler talked with Franz Meyer ’09, a Political Science and Chemistry double-major who taught in the Milwaukee public schools for Teach for America. TMW: What inspired you to join Teach for America? Franz Meyer: When I think about why I am where I am, and why I am the way I am, it starts with really fabulous teachers that I have had the grace to have my entire life…Seeing the glow on somebody else’s face when they learn and understand something for the first time is just amazing. I felt that over in Olin-Rice [as a Chemistry Major] and now I get to feel that every day. That’s what inspired me. Can you talk a little bit about the work you’re doing now? Now I’m a seventh and eighth grade science teacher in Milwaukee, getting ready to start a basketball team, and I’m a student council sponsor. I also did an internship this past summer. I was placed in it through Teach for America, and it was for this Milwaukee community organization called Common Ground. I’m working with members of church groups and small businesses, community organizations, and even Mount Mary College, and people from all walks of Milwaukee life are coming together to work on education issues in the city. It’s really fantastic to watch real people come to this and actually work on solving these issues and do research on teacher quality. I didn’t think I’d have to look at research articles after I graduated, but I do. What are your plans for the future? Do you plan to continue working with TFA? I’m 24 and I love working with my kids. The first two years were really hard and I didn’t know if I wanted to do it again, but when I showed up at school this fall, it was really special. So teaching for another year is on the table. I can become a teaching coach for TFA, so I’m think of applying to do that. My long-term plans are to run for state office in Milwaukee, state assembly or state senate, because the issues that I see in my classroom, in my school and in the district around me are really intractable. I can do really good by 150 kids in my classroom, but I can’t do as well as I could do if the structures were different. I want to run for office to help change the structures that are in place.