DC Chillin

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 21 2011

Question Before I Drink the Kool-Aid

So Induction starts Wednesday, and I’m excited to let the brainwashing begin. I’m two years out of college, so probably less likely than some to be susceptible, but then again I’m pretty susceptible to brainwashing in general if commercials are any indicator (KFC Double Down! I’m going to buy that tonight!)

But here’s my question.

As I understand it, the original mission of TFA was to place corps members in schools where there was a high need for teachers–I can get behind the idea that a first-year TFA teacher is better than the average permanent sub who is not certified in whatever she’s teaching. But now, due to a combination of factors, (Michelle Rhee’s reforms, higher pay for performance, everywhere in the country cutting teacher jobs, good DC-area economy, other reasons?) thousands of teachers are applying to teach in DC. There is actually now a decent screening process in place–it is difficult for the average candidate to get hired as a DCPS teacher (See this article for more on that: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-schools-aim-for-selectivity-by-requiring-teaching-candidates-to-give-tryout-lessons/2011/06/11/AGdstbaH_story.html .) Yet there are around 190 TFA DC Corps Members this year. I know some of those are headed to PG and others will end up in charters, but a significant number (including possibly me) will end up taking the job of someone who is probably, on paper, far more qualified.

So my question is: is this a good thing? I’m curious to see whether I feel the same way by Sunday (post-brainwashing) as I do now.

3 Responses

  1. Ronnie

    Having gone through two certification programs and made myself familiar with several M.A.T. programs, I can say with confidence that TFA offers the best training and ongoing support in education. As far as new teachers are concerned, you will likely be much better prepared than those with impressive paper applications.

  2. Heather

    this is a problem in several regions, and at some point tfa is going to have to address it. I am an alumnus with nine years of experience and a masters degree. I like to teach in 3 tsa cities: baltimore nashville and memphis. I could not get a job in any of the cities. Yet, TFA is placing hundreds of inexperienced, uncertified teachers there. It makes no sense. At this point, TFA teachers ARE taking the jobs of better teachers.

  3. That certainly is the question. The best way to answer it? Make sure at least your kids are better off with YOU.

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From DC public school student to teacher

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