Teach for America

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Miz_Jay, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. Miz_Jay

    Miz_Jay Companion

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I know that there are a lot of opinions on TfA, I've read past threads.

    I'm just looking for a little bit of advice/thoughts.

    I applied for TfA after a coworker suggested I should. I didn't expect to make it past the initial stage, but here I am a couple of weeks from the final interview.

    I just have so many conflicting feelings about it. I know all the not good things about the program and the way they operate. Part of me feels a little bit like I have a background in education so I'm not like the majority of people who go through the program. But I still have so many doubts.

    I'm now weighing whether I should withdraw from consideration now or keep going through the process. I'm really so torn.

    Any suggestions or advice?
     
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  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I had a friend who did two years in Mississippi. She loved the teaching, hated the politics. She left after two years and teaches for a charter in New Orleans now. However, she says she'd do it again no questions asked.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I would never advise anybody to enter Teach For America. In my opinion, the education field as a whole would be better if TFA ceased to exist, and thus if its potential recruits found better ways to enter the field.

    HOWEVER... if you already have educational experience, and want to make a career of it, and are willing to deal with some of their... less pleasant aspects, then you'd certainly be in a more favorable situation than most TFA teachers.

    Be warned though, that many schools (particularly charter schools) recruit through TFA solely to get cheap labor, burn them out, and get a new set of recruits two years later.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 13, 2014

    Just curious...what are the 'less pleasant aspects' and politics?
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 13, 2014

    For my friend it was school politics like you might find at some schools. She was told her students scored too well on the state test and she was making the other teacher look bad. They could not get teachers where she was. It was very sad hearing about her area.
     
  7. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I chose not to apply for TfA based upon my own research. I don't agree with their practices (Not enough training, throwing a new teacher into extremely difficult positions, huge turnover rate).

    However, I think with an education background, you'd do better than the average recruit.

    I had a friend who went through TfA. She loved it. She went to Michigan. She did her two years, came back to California, and then found work at a charter school in Los Angeles. Some people get burnt out. She didn't. Not sure where the magic in her equation lied, but it can happen and be a positive experience.
     
  8. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Nov 13, 2014

    The administration was upset that your friend's students' test scores were too high because it made other teachers look bad? :dizzy:
     
  9. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Nov 13, 2014

    I was with "Teach For America" for two years in the 90s, one year in south Texas and one year in eastern North Carolina. When I started the school year in each location, I was fully prepared to stay there for remainder of my career. Make no mistake about it, they send you to some rough school districts and as someone else posted, they're not concerned about morale or high turnover at these places. The communities these schools are in are not very accommodating, no matter gregarious you are.....they just don't like outsiders and view them as taking jobs away from locals.

    But with you being in education, I think that will make a noticeable difference in your day-to-day job. The people that weren't in education in the TFA program got a rude surprise, were often over-matched, and some even left during the year. I will admit that some on the staff were education majors that were starting out as teachers but still found the experience so rough they never taught again when their 2 years were up. But what kept them in the running as opposed to the others who bailed out was the fact that they could actually teach and manage a class long enough to get through the year.

    I'll say this much, it sure prepared me for dealing with the high school students in the city when I returned back home. It'll help you learn to roll with the punches and gain flexibility, that's for darn sure!


    :)
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Nov 14, 2014

    Yup! One of many reasons she left after her two year contract! Ridiculous if you ask me.
     
  11. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Nov 14, 2014

    I've met plenty of TFA teachers over the years and most enjoy (or at least didn't dislike) the program/process itself and found TFA to be very supportive, albeit demanding (taking classes while being a new teacher). Now, some TFA teachers I know came to hate teaching in Baltimore and quit, but that often has nothing to do with TFA. I do know one person with a true "horror" story, but that has as much to do with TFA as with my district's disorganization.

    Baltimore has its own "TFA" called the Baltimore City Teacher Residency. MANY people who join BCTR come to REALLY hate the program - the money it charges to take the required classes, the bureaucracy, very non-supportive, the poor communication between BCTR/the BofEd, their evaluation process, this list goes on ... Many people I have known do not last the required three years in BCTR and this is mainly because they want to quit the program, although, NOT quit teaching. BCTR can also "fire/non-renew" their candidates which happens a lot. I think TFA is a better overall program for someone who wants to enter education in a non-traditional route.

    I have worked with many great TFA taecher - most were no worse than many traditional-ed first year teachers.
     
  12. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Nov 14, 2014

    Why? How/why has your experience being in TFA tainted your views so badly against them ...

    What's the better way - traditional teacher ed degrees/programs?
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Nov 14, 2014

    TFA's practices are like this because their purpose is to help staff school districts that NEED teachers; schools like mine where LTS are teaching key classes. Thus, TFA teachers are going to be sent to difficult cities/districts/schools. Likewise, many of these places have high turnover rates in general even among traditional-ed teachers.

    The burnout thing is no different, IMO, than traditional-ed teachers who work in difficult schools; some get burnt out and quit and others do not.
     

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