Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program

The U.S. Department of State and IREX announce an open competition for a program that will bring outstanding secondary-level school teachers to the U.S. for a professional development opportunity. The Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program (TEA) will provide approximately 160 secondary school teachers from East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Near East, South and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere with unique opportunities to develop expertise in their subject areas, enhance their teaching skills and increase their knowledge about the United States. TEA consists of a six-week non-degree, non-credit academic program at a U.S. University. The international participants will travel to the United States in two cohorts of approximately 80 teachers each in spring or fall 2017. TEA provides academic seminars focusing on teaching methodologies, curriculum development, lesson planning, teaching strategies, and instructional technology training. Intensive English language instruction will be offered to teachers who need additional practice. The program will also include a field experience at a U.S. secondary school where participants work closely with U.S. teachers and teach and present to U.S. students. Cultural enrichment, mentoring, and support will be provided to participants throughout the program.


After returning home, teachers will be eligible to participate in a small grants program to request funds for essential teaching materials, follow-on training for other teachers, collaborative projects between their home schools and U.S. schools, and other activities that build on the exchange experience.


Applicants must:

  • Be full-time school teachers (6th to 12th grades) in a school that serves a primarily local (not expatriate) population;
  • Have five or more years of classroom experience in TEA teaching disciplines: English, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, or Special Education;
  • Be citizens of and residents in India;
  • Live and teach in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Telengana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands;
  • Have earned a Bachelor’s degree with a teacher training degree;
  • Be present in India at the time of submitting the application and for the interview;
  • Obtain a minimum score of 450 on paper based TOEFL or equivalent English language examination*;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to continue teaching after completion of the program; and
  • Have submitted a complete application.

*A limited number of participants with TOEFL scores between 425 and 450, or equivalent, will be accepted for the program into a special cohort with additional English language training included in the professional development program. TOEFL scores are not required at the time of application. If you are short-listed for interview, USIEF will administer the TOEFL or an equivalent of English proficiency test.


The Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program promotes diversity in the classroom and in learning. The TEA Program supports inclusion and strongly encourages teachers with disabilities to apply. Preference will be given to applicants who serve students in under-resourced communities or from underserved groups.


Former participants of TEA, the International Leaders in Education (ILEP) program, Partners in Education (PiE), Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program or the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program are not eligible to apply. If you have participated in other U.S. government-funded professional development exchange programs, please talk to USIEF about your eligibility.


TEA is a program for practicing teachers. Ministry of Education officials, full-time principals or educational administrators, full-time teacher trainers, university faculty, private English Language tutors, are not eligible. Staff or families of staff at a U.S. Embassy or Fulbright Commission are not eligible to apply.


Current IREX employees and consultants and their immediate family members (spouses, parents, children, and siblings) are not eligible to compete in any IREX-implemented grant programs, either as individuals or as the responsible party representing an institutional applicant. IREX does not discriminate against grant applicants because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or any other protected characteristic as established by U.S. law.




IREX reserves the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy, or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.



  • J-1 visa support;
  • A pre-departure orientation held in India;
  • Round-trip airfare to and within the U.S.;
  • A Welcome Orientation in Washington, D.C.;
  • Academic program fees;
  • Housing (generally shared with other program fellows) and meals;
  • Accident and sickness medical insurance coverage (does not cover pre-existing conditions);
  • Transportation to the practicum school (if necessary);
  • A daily allowance for incidentals during the university academic program;
  • A book/professional development allowance;
  • A baggage/shipping allowance; and
  • The opportunity to apply for alumni small grants.




TEA Fellows will be selected through a merit-based open competition based on the criteria below. Top candidates will be interviewed by an interview panel and must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or equivalent English language examination or provide valid results from within a year of the application deadline. TOEFL scores received between June 2015 and the application deadline are valid for consideration and use for selection committees to assess an applicant’s English language proficiency.


Selection Criteria (not in order of importance):

  • Demonstrated commitment to teaching in the field of secondary education;
  • Demonstrated leadership potential;
  • Professional and educational experience and achievements;
  • Potential for developing long-term linkages between U.S. and Indian educational institutions and schools;
  • Preparedness (including maturity, flexibility, and ability to function independently) for an intensive U.S.-based training program with very limited free time for personal travel or sightseeing;
  • Willingness and capacity to work and live collaboratively with international peers to foster a positive learning community for professional development;
  • Ability to express ideas clearly and effectively; and
  • English language skills adequate to manage coursework, develop lesson plans, and team-teach in U.S. schools (a minimum paper-based or equivalent TOEFL score of 450 is required for TEA participation).
  • Applicants who have had few or no opportunities to travel to the U.S. will be given priority.




You are required to submit an online application along with supporting documents. Candidates can access the online application at http://oas.irex.org/tea . For instructions on completing the online application, please click here.


Please note that USIEF will accept only online application form from Indian applicants. No paper application will be accepted.





APRIL 1, 2016                                        Application Deadline
Mid-end April 2016                                   Paper screening of the applications
Mid May 2016                                          TOEFL Testing/Interviews
September 2016                                       Notification of Finalists
December 2016                                        Pre-Departure Orientation Cohort I
Late January-March 2017                          U.S. Program Dates Cohort I
July 2017                                                 Pre-Departure Orientation Cohort II
September-November 2017                       U.S. Program Dates Cohort II




If you have any questions,


Teachers teaching in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and West Bengal should contact Ms. Shevanti Narayan, Regional Officer, USIEF Kolkata Regional Office, Kolkata, E: Shevanti@usief.org.in; Phone: 033-39846310


Teachers teaching in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telengana should contact Ms. Pranitha Hemanth, Administrative and EducationUSA Coordinator, USIEF Hyderabad Regional Office, Hyderabad, E: usiefhyderabad@usief.org.in; Phone: 8008465712


Teachers teaching in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands should contact Ms. Lalitha Nagesvari, Program Manager, USIEF Chennai Regional Office, Chennai, E: usiefchennai@usief.org.in; Phone: 044-2857 4275