Air travel is one of the most dependable modes of transportation. You have at least a 99.99% chance of making it to your destination, alive, when you board a commercial airline. One reason for this is that when there is an actual plane crash, the airline will invest a great amount of time, money, and energy into finding out exactly what happened, why it happened, and use that information to formulate a plan of how to prevent the same type of accident happening in the future.
I have a theory, which I’d like to try to verify, that TFA does not try to do a similar thing when the equivalent of a crash happens — a CM quits. My feeling is that when a CM quits (which happens, to the best of my knowledge, about 9 or 10 percent of the time), TFA does not invest much energy into trying to figure out exactly what happened and how possible inadequacies in the training and support models could have contributed to the disaster. Instead, I believe, they blame the CM, say that they didn’t internalize the core values — they didn’t make big plans, invest students and families, plan purposefully, and otherwise pursue the goal of closing the achievement gap in a relentless enough way. If I’m right, and only people who have actually quit will be able to help me out on this one, then TFA is missing a very important opportunity to improve.
Now, if you’ve quit, you should know, I don’t think poorly of you. By all measures, I probably should have been fired or quit by my third month of teaching. Really, there were only two things that kept me from quitting. One was based on luck — I had such great friends that helped me get through it. We’d get to school at 6:30 AM and leave at 6:00 PM, so the four or so hours that I was actually in front of a class was only about 33% of my day. The rest of the time, we planned a little, but mostly just traded war stories and laughed a lot about our situation. The other thing that kept me in the classroom was that I really didn’t have any ‘Plan B’ — there was no deferred law school acceptance or anything like that. So please don’t take offense to being called a ‘quitter’ in the title of this post. It’s just the dictionary definition of what you are, and there’s not intended to be any judgment attached.
I’d like some of you to comment on this post, and I’ll create some new posts that will quote your comments. As this is one of the top 10 teachforus.org blogs, this is also an opportunity to get your voice out there in case you’re feeling ignored by TFA or feel that you have been slighted in some way and want to vent some frustration.
The thing I’m wondering about is how seriously TFA treated you after you quit. Have you heard from them again? Was there any kind of final feedback form you had to fill out or were you just forgotten about? Do you think that TFA does try to learn about how they can improve to prevent future people from quitting, or do they pretty much blame it on you for not following the core principles blindly enough?
So feel free to comment here, or if you don’t want to do that, you can email me at my name (first and last, all one word) at yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you.