Anyone else feel that Teach For America is taking jobs from the rest of us?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by bet3, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. bet3

    bet3 Companion

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    Until recently, I didn't know anything about Teach For America. When I was laid off at the end of the school year, I was told that it was because there were so many language arts teachers in my building. I had been there for 2 years. Naturally, I assumed that the other "new" language arts teacher, who had only taught for 1 year, had been laid off, too. Later on in the summer, I was told by another teacher that she had not been let go because she was in Teach For America and had a 2 year contract.

    This is not fair. I have nothing against the other teacher personally, but I had senority over her and nothing that I saw suggested that she was a better teacher than me.

    I had an interview in another district Monday and another applicant came in while I was waiting. She was a Teach For America candidate. In all fairness, I don't know if she was hired or not (the names of the teachers are not on the school website yet). What I do know is that, from their website, over 30 Teach For America candidates were placed in this area last year and apparently they are placing more this year. There are already teachers here who have worked very hard to get their teaching credential. I tried for 3 years to get hired before I got my job and now I am unemployed again. Teach For America might be a good thing for areas with actual teacher shortages (if such a place exists in the U.S., which I doubt), but for other areas, all they are doing is taking jobs from those of us who have lived here all their lives and are trying to support families while fulfilling the calling on our lives (teaching).

    Is this fair? I don't think so.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Those TFA teachers are also working hard to support families, as are alternate route teachers, subs hoping to be hired, RIFd teachers, new graduates...it's a tough market. You only have control over how you present your credentials,education and experience.What can you do to make yourself stand out?
     
  4. bet3

    bet3 Companion

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    I'm sure they do work hard. I never meant to imply that they didn't. My point is that it is not fair for this program to place new teachers in areas where there are already too many teachers in comparison to the jobs available. That is not fair to the residents who already have their credentials, but no jobs.
     
  5. Rainbowbird

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    Teach For America = Teach For Awhile.

    Yes, it bugs me. Did you ever hear the joke: what do you call a teacher who teaches for 35 years? answer: a union slob. What do you call a teacher from TFA who teaches for two years before joining the corporate world? Selfless, dedicated, and willing to sacrifice a high-paying job in order to teach.

    Sorry, but I see TFA as a way to save money. I was told I would not be interviewed in one district because they have contracted with TFA and are pulling from that pool first. Mind you, the state has the money to pay the special master of the district a quarter million a year.....uh huh.
     
  6. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Oh, for crying out loud. That is NOT an answer. OF COURSE TFA "teachers" are being used to crowd out experienced, senior teachers. That is the point. Same is true with gutting tenure protections, so-called "merit pay," and down the line.

    TFAs are NOT, repeat NOT, teachers. They are temps, scabs, hired to undercut regular teachers and undercut unions. Every REAL teacher should be outraged their profession is being cheapened in this manner.

    What is the matter with people here? Don't you read Diane Ravitch, for starters? You will find there is a massive attempt in this country to privatize public education, yet I read advice here that was appropriate ten years ago that is completely irrelevant now.

    I've got news for you: You may be very comfortable in your job, but it is a TERRIBLE JOB MARKET there in general, and for teachers it is catastrophic. Don't sit there with nonsense saying to the effect it is the OP's fault he or she cannot get a job.
     
  7. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Yep, and TFA has the backing of a so-called Democrat in the Department of Ed, who has NEVER taught a day in his life, and the "Democratic" White House.

    It is sickening.
     
  8. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    I seriously doubt many of them have "families" to support; most are in their twenties, newly minted from college, and most have utterly NO intention of staying in the field but using it to help their resumes.

    It is a sickening trend, and the entire profession is suffering from it. TFA needs to be banned entirely. You don't see TFA "teachers" work in the suburbs or wealthy districts, so there is a discrimination issue here. Poor kids have just as much if not more right to qualified, fully-certified teachers as kids from wealthy schools and districts.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oh, tony, you're such a ray of sunshine. I gave an answer and didn't blame anyone...

    it's about working with those things you can control, within your own circle of influence...no one an control the competition, but one an polish up a resume, write a compelling cover, add on certifications, hone skills in order to become the most competitive candidate for the job.
     
  10. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    That's part of TFA- you get put in Title One schools...:mellow:

    I don't know how I feel about TFA. I have a few friends doing it now, and I know they won't stay in teaching, one already left. But the one that left was nominated for rookie teacher of the year, so I wouldn't discredit all TFAers.
     
  11. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I'm not a fan of TFA for many of the reasons already mentioned, and I have done a fair amount of research into the program for my thesis. Another perspective to consider is that of the students. TFA candidates are often placed in low-SES areas that already experience high teacher turnover. Since TFA requires a 2-year commitment they are feeding the cycle of revolving-door teachers. Some TFA alums remain in the education industry in some form, but many leave the profession and don't look back. It's just a shiny spot on their resume. I read an article - perhaps a year ago - that asserted that TFA is as competitive as, or more competitive than, Ivy League grad school. I just hope the people considering the TFA route have good intentions and an honest desire to contribute to education.
     
  12. Momzoid

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    In my system the TFA's did not interview with the principals. TFA selected them and they were placed in my school. Their observations were staged, they received special training for the new curriculum while other teachers who begged for help were left to fend for themselves. They also received tons of praise, special treatment by the superintendent leaving the rest of us feeling like crap. TFA is supposed to be for areas where there is a teacher shortage. But in my system they are using them to replace "pinked" slipped teachers.

    Tonysam- I work in one of the largest systems in my state. We are not poor. There are 3 universities who have excellent education programs in my city. There is no teacher shortage in my city. We are doing a disservice to these kids by bring in inexperienced people who think they can teach.
     
  13. Mathemagician

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    If at all possible I think the jobs so could to certified people, BUT I know there are some hard to fill spots in urban schools (such as HS chem/physics, in some places HS math..special ed). I think TFA should be utilized only if all else fails.
     
  14. Rainbowbird

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    You can't do anything to make yourself stand out in a district that has contracted with TFA. They will hire those teachers first and ignore the applications of career educators. Sorry, but TFA is a union-busting organization and it is harmful to public education, IMO.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So ALL districts within a reasonable commute from TFA districts are out of consideration as well?
     
  16. Socivol

    Socivol Rookie

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    I hate TFA the district I want to work in hired 306 TFA teachers and I can't even get an interview. I worked hard to get my masters degree and I sacrificed a lot and for people that did nothing to come in is insulting. I have a friend that works at a new charter school and she is the only licensed teacher at her school. The principal is a TFA alum (and only taught for two years mind you) and has no idea what she is doing. Her coworkers are from TFA as well and have no clue. During their professional development they did not even know how to write an objective. I agree that there are certain areas where filling positions is difficult and TFA should be utilized if that is the case, but I don't think they should get hired over a licensed teacher at all.
     
  17. Rainbowbird

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    I don't understand the question. I'm referring to TFA districts in my post. You can't really do anything special to get hired in a TFA district, because you are not TFA. That was my point.
     
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    When I applied to TFA over 20 years ago, they told us it was limited to a handful of urban inner city areas - NYC, Chicago, Houston, LA, and Oakland maybe and some rural areas in Appalachia and the Deep South. Basically places where it was really hard to find teachers because nobody wanted to teach there.

    Most of the people who applied with me were people who wanted to be teachers but didn't want to slog through another two years of school getting a credential. TFA was seen as a way to earn your metal at an inner-city school and emerge as a qualified, very employable teacher without going further into debt.

    It seemed like the type of person they did not want was someone who just wanted to teach for two years in order to fill the "be part of the solution" square on their resume in order to get that coveted ivy league-worthy job in DC or Manhattan.

    Has it changed?
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So back to my point of working within those things you can control.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No, we don't have TFA...and maybe in this job market, TFA should be revamped. These should be the golden days in urban Ed where they have their choice of highly qualified, motivated, good teachers....it's just not going to happen this hiring season...so what are those teachers to do? I think it's move on to other districts where they aren't locked out...and do so with a plan for making oneself highly competitive.:2cents:
     
  21. Peregrin5

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    I agree with this. Unless they're young mothers or fathers, the majority of them come from Ivy League schools that they wouldn't be able to afford without mom and dad's stash of hundreds.

    From the ones I've talked to, teaching is something for them to do while they figure out what they want to do, and it looks good on their resume.

    I understand why districts hire them. They're cheap. I don't think there's a conspiracy to cut out experienced teachers, but it's like the outsourcing quandary. Pay American workers 11 bucks an hour to build a few iPhones a day, or go to China, and pay 25 cents for each unit and have them build hundreds an hour?

    Although about the OPs specific case, I don't think it would have been possible to remove the TFA student, because as they said, he or she was on CONTRACT, which meant he HAD to be there for another year. I'm certain they'll get rid of them after this year (though he or she is likely to quit anyway). I'm sorry you lost your job, but in this case, I don't think anything else could have been done.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Good common sense advice. But it's still good to discuss these issues.
     
  23. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I think TFA might have been a good, practical idea at one time- a time when certain areas really didn't have teachers. However, I think that time has passed. I feel like the intention of TFA has really changed over the years. What used to be about getting people into classrooms that would otherwise not have teachers is now about the supposed "best and the brightest" college grads "save our educational system." I had to defriend one of my fb friends who works for TFA because I could not stand to see her constant updates about how much better she was than the "real" teachers who "didn't have a clue." And yes, that is insulting.

    A neighboring district to mine uses a lot of TFA teachers. Yes, it is an "underperforming" low ses, urban district. However, there is absolutely not a shortage of applicants and they have no reason to need TFA. I talked to them at a job fair and literally had to wait in like for 90 minutes in a line wrapped around the building several times to speak to them. They get hundreds and hundreds of candidates for positions. Our master teacher actually had a sister who was a principal in this district, and when I started looking she told her sister all about me. Her sister said she would love to meet me, but didn't think she would have any non-TFA openings available. My district would qualify for TFA candidates for sure, but luckily, does not choose to use them and we have no shortage of real teachers willing to work here.
     
  24. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Actually, TFA is not competitive at all, they just make themselves sound that way. We've had lots of threads about TFA before and we actually did the math in one of them between how many applicants they get and how many are accepted. It's about 1 in every 8 people that's accepted. Meanwhile, what kind of school is going to have that good of odds of getting a position? My district is urban/low ses/poor test scores and we get around 200 applicants for each position.
     
  25. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    A friend of mine from college who graduated with an education degree worked for TFA for two years before coming back to NJ...she did continue teaching, but her mom was sick and she didn't stay in the south where her placement was after her time was up. It stinks that so many of you have had a bad experience with TFAs, as my friend is an excellent teacher (I've seen her in the classroom). However, she's the only person I've known who's done TFA.
     
  26. Socivol

    Socivol Rookie

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    I WANTED to work at a low SES school. I am an African American male and kids in those areas often do not have positive male role models. In fact, I only applied to low SES districts and still nothing. During my student teaching my students had a 98% pass rate on the state test and the value added score for my students was the highest you can get in the state and it just seems like nobody cares. It's really turned me off from teaching a bit known that others that have done nothing are taking positions that I am more than qualified for but because I didn't do a 5 week training through TFA I can't get. I'm still hoping something comes up because I really do love teaching and I have fun with the kids but it's a bit disheartening to have people with no training hired over you.
     
  27. bet3

    bet3 Companion

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    I realize that the teacher couldn't be removed because of the contract. I am just aggravated with the system of TFA in general. I started this thread to share my frustrations and to see if others had had similar experiences.
     
  28. chiilo

    chiilo Rookie

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    I'm a certified teacher who has never had a job and TFA sounds like a great idea. 2 year contract and job placement? I'm in! I actually applied last year but only made it up to the phone interview. I plan to keep trying. With the job market how it is, i'm going to do whatever it takes.
     
  29. Socivol

    Socivol Rookie

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    They don't accept people that already have a teaching license, unless something has changed.
     
  30. Emmy

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    I do not like TFA. I've known several Teach for America teachers. Nice people, but I have a problem that 1) they didn't get their degree in education (so basically anyone with a college degree can teach is what they are saying) and 2) they don't stay in teaching. I've known about several young ladies from my church (all single and in their 20s) who were in TFA and all have left teaching. Now some are doing some wonderful things like one friend I know went into ministry and is going to be a minister, but why waist time, effort and money on someone who isn't going to be in the profession for the longhaul. I also don't like how they only put TFA into the poor title one schools. Some of those TFA teachers have lived in a bubble living a very sheltered wealthy life during their upbringing, so its a huge huge huge culture shock for them when they see how other people live.
     
  31. missml

    missml Rookie

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    I have two friends who are currently doing TFA, one of whom graduated college with me, and both have their teaching licenses. I've never personally looked into the program, but I do know for sure that both of these girls have their teaching licenses, and one for sure actually wants to teach. Not only that, but she is an AMAZING teacher. That said, I desperately wanted to teach in the same area that she got placed for TFA and was unable to land a job. Reading this thread, I'm thinking most likely my potential job went to a TFA candidate.
     
  32. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Don't they get their licenses via a special drive through type of program? In other words, they don't accept people who have actually majored in Education?
     
  33. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    This is not true as I knew of someone who majored in education and got accepted to TFA. I'm not a fan of TFA in general because it really does a disservice to the disadvantaged students. They are already in such unstable households and situations with people coming and leaving from their lives. Now, they have to deal with the same thing at school, having new teachers practically every year since many TFA teachers don't stay beyond their 2 years of required service. Even if some of them do end up staying in teaching, they would have a much easier time teaching at a different school. Many people who apply to TFA though just do it because they don't know what else to do with their degree after college.

    Anyway, even though TFA teachers might have a 2 year contract, they can still get fired for not performing well like not being able to manage a classroom although they probably have more support than non-TFA teachers.
     
  34. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    TFA doesn't certify teachers. The program puts trainees through a brief program before sending them to one of several states where the candidate works toward that state's certification through an alternative route.
     
  35. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    I met some people from TFA at induction, and kudos to them for sticking it out in the schools with the worst reputations. One girl I met had been with her high school for 5 years. These schools can't attract subs, much less certified teachers. The reality is if it weren't for TFA, these positions would remain unfilled or we'd have rotating newbies. :crosseyed :
     
  36. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    So you got a job, Milsey! What will you be doing this year?
     
  37. chiilo

    chiilo Rookie

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    Yes, they accept people with a teaching certificate. I made it all the way through to phone interviews, and they definitely take certified teachers. I even asked before I applied just in case.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I work at a Title I urban high school. I can assure you that my school is always short on teachers. There has never been a school year where we had a full load of teachers. Ever. Since the school was opened.

    My school is a troubled, failing school with lots of problems ranging from gangs to drugs to prostitution to violence, not to mention exceedingly low teacher morale and a lack of teacher support. People don't want to work at my school, and I don't blame them.

    Case in point: we recently received a very large grant which, in part, allows us to hire a bunch of additional teachers. We opened up 20 teaching positions. Those positions are in addition to the positions that were vacated due to transfers and resignations at the end of last year. As of today, about two weeks before school starts, I think that there are 17 open positions remaining. We've been advertising them, had hiring fairs, done everything we can to get applicants, but no one is biting. Our reputation is holding us back.
     
  39. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    This happens in Houston as well!
     
  40. FourSquare

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    Same with my last school! My principal hired several TFA teachers this year. I couldn't help but think at least they'll be a little more likely to actually stick around 2 years, which is better than 1 or less than 1 year. :whistle:
     
  41. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Interesting thread. In my city it was announced that 50 or more TFA teachers will be placed in the area charter schools. Meanwhile, our major city district let go of something like 700 teachers last spring, and other suburban districts also had less drastic cuts. At first glance I'd say it doesn't really make sense at all, considering the amount of people looking for teaching jobs with education backgrounds. Ohio certainly has no teacher shortage.
     

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