TFA Ambush Interview

I could very easily see TFA kicking people out for blogging negatively about them… they are certainly vitriolic when you offer criticism in person!

On summer institute

Note how corps members have to work from 6am to 10pm… and then write lesson plans. This is why I was only getting about 2 hours of sleep a night… when lucky.

“Disruptions” at Summer Institute?

I need to find out if this happened! If this occurred in 2009 I totally would have participated… I already had misgivings and reservations in summer institute, especially when I was told I was “being selfish” for complaining about only getting 2 hours of sleep a night… on a good night. I got in trouble for falling asleep during workshops a couple of times… even though falling asleep is a sleep-deprived body’s natural reaction the second it is sitting down someplace comfortable… or even just anywhere… for more than a couple of minutes. They told me to stand so it wouldn’t happen… I actually thought I would end up fainting like what happens in the Sims or something when the characters don’t get enough sleep!

Gary Rubenstein’s Thoughts on Misplaced Corps Members

I was technically a misplaced one myself- trained early childhood, wound up semidisplaced… first and second graders, but special needs ones. I will NEVER regret the students I had. I grew to love them all very fast!

However, I definitely would have fared better as a teacher with training for meeting the needs of special needs children. I was sort of operating on a trial and error basis because I had not had that specialized training. I understood a few of them because I have ADHD myself and could empathize with ADHD tendencies and sense when a break is needed, but ADHD is not the only special need a child could have.

Smart Kid’s Burden

http://mrdsneighborhood.com/2009/04/03/the-smart-kids-burden-the-raj-of-teach-for-america/

It really is “Teach for Awhile.” It’s funny… I started Teach for America really considering being a teacher as a career. I left Teach for America as someone who was entangled in a prime example of political corruption in her school, deliberately set up to fail by her Teach for America alum principal, all while the organization failed to protect her from such abuse. Then again, the school principal was one of their darlings. I’d also dared to offer what they call “push back” during summer institute several times, with the result that they may very well have wanted me with someone to “keep an eye on” me? Or I’m becoming a conspiracy theorist. Whatever the case, I was treated quite badly by the administration of my school. I was never given a mentor teacher, even though Baltimore City Public Schools said that first year teachers are supposed to be given mentors. It was the IST (Instructional Support Teacher) at my school who became my mentor and my advocate to the best of her ability. The advice and feedback I got from her was much more useful than anything I ever got from TFA. She helped me fight on the behalf of one of my students at the end of the school year after I found out they were trying to stick him in the remedial class for second grade, even though he improved so dramatically first grade that he went from failing the beginning of the year to “Advanced proficient” on all sections of the reading test by the end of the year… and his math scores were quite respectable as well. He was bored out of his mind in the remedial reading group at the end of the school year because of his progress, and I knew the student did not need remediation, he needed a challenge, with the occasional nudge when his mind wandered (the boy was very bright and sharp- I noticed that about him very quickly, that if he was paying attention, he tended to retain everything). The IST was great with that, because she, too, knew just how much that student had improved.

But I digress. That link was written by someone from another NYC teacher training program. Read it. Think what you want. You can agree or disagree; you have the right to your own opinion

Another person’s thoughts on Teach for America

A Student Critique on TFA

I disagree on what is said about it being impossible for people from low-income backgrounds to get into Teach for America- I have a low-income background and was even a homeless child on and off between the ages of four and seven- but it is unquestionably true that many of my fellow corps members had middle class to upper middle class or even wealthy backgrounds. I was definitely one of the exceptions.

Teach for America: The truth behind the organization

This is a link to an article that someone posted on his site pertaining to a friend who was kept anonymous for her protection- after she posted a blog entry about her horrific experience with Teach for America, the organization threatened to sue her if she did not remove her entry.