Teach for America

Discussion in 'General Education' started by alielizadubois, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I have a (new) friend who is considering doing the Teach for America program.

    A little background (I don't know her well, so some of the details Im unsure of...)

    She student taught for 1/2 a year and was hired for the second half of the year teaching 2nd grade. She left after that year was over, thinking that she wanted to teach above and beyond public school. This was probably 3 years ago or so. She is now finishing a Master's degree in International Education, and has decided that she wants to go back to the classroom.

    She feels very insecure about teaching (why, Im not quite sure, but it probably has something to do with anyone's feelings of nervousness and inadequacy when starting or considering something new and different), and hopes that the Teach for America program will be the support network she is looking for when starting out again teaching.

    She also feels highly interested in and dedicated to serving in a high needs community.

    That said, I am of the mindset that she should just go straight to the classroom without all the tangential TFA stuff, though, I don't know much about the program.

    Does anyone know anything about or have any experience with Teach for America?

    Do they provide a great support network? Do they prepare their teachers well? Is there a high success rate for TFA teachers?
     
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  3. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Nov 7, 2008

    I wouldn't do it based on the information here:
    http://www.teachforamerica.org/corps/financial_arrangements.htm

    I would do it if the program paid my student loans and paid me to help their program.

    It looks shady in that they offer "loans" to help offset cost of living and such. Seems predatory, unless I read it incorrectly.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I don't know that it's necessarily predatory - one program that I know of paid for tutoring to ensure that one of their hires would get all the way through the NCLB-required state teacher tests - but it would make sense, as it always does, to be very sure just what's being offered and how.
     
  5. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    I'm not a big TFA fan. We've had a few come through our school over the years and every single one of them has left before completing a year. The reasons vary by the individual, but I know that with TFA you don't have a very specific choice of schools and TFA requires additional work above and beyond the regular school day.

    If your friend is serious about her commitment to urban education, then I would suggest another route. There are numerous other urban education programs besides TFA that have a vision that goes above and beyond two years...

    db
     
  6. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    It sounds like she has the degrees and should be able to teach- she did student teaching? Why isn't she certified?

    I think she is OVER QUALIFIED for TFA.

    If she has a certificate, she should be able to teach....she can go to an urban area and EASILY find a job. I know in NYC they accept certificates from other states. I had reciprocity for 2 years while I taught in NYC. Longer than that, and I would have needed a NY cert...
     
  7. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

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    She has Florida certification, so it shouldn't be hard for her to get NYS cert. I have to talk with her more about it, but I, too, think that she should just go right into teaching. I agree that she is probably over qualified, and that she could get a job pretty quickly, especially if shes willing and interested in working in a high needs school.
     
  8. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    I have spoken with some TFA folks who recommend against it. Their complaints were the extra work above and beyond, and the nearly non-existent classroom management training provided in the program.
     
  9. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Have her call the DOA and see if Florida and New York have reciprocity. I am guessing they do! In that case, she should be able to get a job w/out jumping through too many hoops.

    I worked in a school w/ some TFA people and they didn't seem to get any more mentoring than I did. She will have an assigned mentor in NY and go to meetings for new teachers where they discuss various subjects like test prep, stress, classroom management, etc. You do that for the first year, then get a different kind of mentorship the second year.
     
  10. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    It sounds kind of strange to go through TFA instead of straight into the classroom. When talking to people who have done it, they get minimal training, I don't know if they get seasoned teacher's as mentors (in my district they wouldn't because they don't have the credential), they are placed in the most desperate schools in any community. If she were to apply she would at least have a choice of what schools to go to, depending on the state she might be able to get student loans paid off through state programs, and she would be able to get support from mentors. One thing I noticed at the schools where the TFA people were is they are not counted by the main staff as actual teachers until the service is done and they return. Probably because the majority of them choose not to continue teaching and never even considered it from the start.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Nov 9, 2008

    I have known some really dedicated teachers who went through TFA. I think they have a better support system than a lot of alternative certification programs do. You have a mentor through the program who comes and observes regularly to help you with any issues you encounter. They do expect you to eat, sleep and breathe teaching and you don't really have much choice where you are placed, but the program itself I think has churned out some remarkable teachers at least in our area.
     
  12. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

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    Nov 9, 2008

    Thanks, everyone, for your input. I will definitely share this with her!
     
  13. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

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    Nov 9, 2008

    It's not the easiest way to get certified, to be sure. I have a friend who did it in NYC and it was a huge lesson in the real world for her. In one of her emails to me after a few months on the jobs she said 'I have turned into such a bitch at school'. When I asked her what the biggest thing she learned was she said 'conversational Spanish'.
     
  14. GradSTUDENT07

    GradSTUDENT07 Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2008

    I agree with several of the other posters. I teach at a school with about 6 TFA teachers. Several of them from what I have observed are fantastic at teaching. One TFA teacher in particular told me that the process is rigourous and the additional work outside the school can be difficult. She gave positives such as a portion of school loans are paid back. However, I think TFA was probably established for non-educator majors to consider teaching. If she is set on teaching being her career I would suggest she try looking into teaching fellows. Just a suggestion.
     
  15. alielizadubois

    alielizadubois Companion

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    Nov 9, 2008

    Thanks.
    The teaching fellows program is really intended for career changers who do not have a teaching certification, nor a master's degree (or at least not one in education).

    She has certification (albeit in florida) and a masters degree (in International Education).

    I think that she should just amp up her courage and go for the NYS certification (Through whatever exams she may have to take) and dive right into teaching.

    I told her there is no need to worry, Im her loudest cheerleader!
     

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