It occurs to me that I have no idea what the general public opinion is of Teach For America. On the one hand, all my parents’ friends really seem to like it, and most older folks I meet think it’s great. On the other hand, nearly every time I see TFA mentioned in an internet article it seems to be being bashed. Partly this may be that angry voices speak louder than happy ones, and partly it may be that I sometimes actively seek out these voices (hi Gary Rubinstein), both to try to get out of the self-fulfilling-information-seeking position that is so gratifying, and also to see what people’s complaints are so I can try to, you know, not do that.
There seem to be a few main points, as outlined so beautifully in this article.
Here’s what’s going through my head, though:
1. TFA teachers are underqualified because they were only…
My parents live in a fairly ritzy suburb of Boston, and they take their puppy every day to doggy day care in the city while they work. Perhaps a little fussy, but not outside the realm of possibility for a lot of people. It costs $28 a day to board your dog at this place.…read more »
He can multiply! Woohoo! “He” in this case is my used-to-be-lowest kiddo, who has some serious (and documented) short term memory issues. Math is a terror for this kid because he doesn’t have the memory to remember…anything. Including his facts. That means if he’s doing, say, multiplication, he starts, then has to pause and make…read more »
This morning I got a surprise call from the office telling me my IEP was about to start and they had someone coming to cover my class. The IEP was for my most impaired kiddo, the one who reads at a kindergarten level and can just about add and subtract. Unfortunately, no one told me…read more »
This year is kind of interesting because I think I have a larger group of truly gifted students than I have in past years. For instance, I have students who in one week have learned how to multiply two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers perfectly, using three different methods (which, if you don’t remember 4th grade,…read more »
So how’d it go? Well, it’s now Year 3 in my placement school, same grade, same classroom, but I’ll tell about that later. I want to just do a little review on last year, now that the almighty test scores are in. Those of you who’ve been with me for a while might remember that…read more »
It has been SO LONG since I have written. And I don’t have that much time to write. So let me tell you a cute kid story. I’m walking my kiddos back from lunch recess through the outside shortcut and one of the cooks’ cars is back there. Someone very clever has written, “Blow me!”…read more »
I don’t know how I feel about charter schools, and I’m trying to give it some thought because many of the anti-TFA things I’ve read lately have criticized an over-emphasis on charter schools within the organization. Since I often think by writing, here’s my thinking. First of all, does TFA overdo it on the charter…read more »
Little known TFA factoid: each region is its own animal, more than you might expect. What do I mean by that? Well, first of all there are a lot of differences from region to region. Some regions have the hiring-TFAers-while-pink-slipping-others situation going on, and some (like mine) have 10% teaching vacancies all year, even with…read more »
This is a response to Didymath’s “#69: All Aboard the USS Test Scores Don’t Matter,” which he wrote in response to my last post…basically continuing the conversation. I think both of us are falling into the dangerous trap of arguing the extremes. In many ways, I agree with a lot of what Didymath is saying.…read more »