Jul 31 2012

What they teach the new CMs about public vs. charter schools

teachforus.org has been very quiet lately.  For whatever reason out of 10,000 1st and 2nd year CMs there is only about a post or two a day.  I’m surprised it isn’t more.  I’m sure that many of the CMs have thought about writing a book about their experience and writing a blog is a great way to collect thoughts.  Even re-reading about the mundane things that happen during this experience can bring back a lot of memories.

Well, I read a post today by a first year called It’s Not About You.  In the post this CM is having mixed feelings about getting her / his placement switched from a ‘conventional public’ school to a charter school.  From the analysis, it is clear what they are — and are not — teaching the new CMs about what is really going on in ‘public’ schools.

I want to empathize that I am not doing this to hold this new CM up to ridicule.  This CM is just revealing what she / he learned this summer.  It is a reflection of what sorts of negative stereotypes are propagated at institute.

Here are some key quotes (I’ve all pasted the whole post at the end since lately every time I write about something, it mysteriously disappears the next day):

I had envisioned myself teaching in a conventional public school where most of the teachers and students are burned out or apathetic, but I’m actually teaching at a charter school where the teachers all extremely focused and energetic, and the students are desperately seeking ways to put themselves on college-bound trajectories.

Where did this CM get this idea that most of the teachers at the conventional public school are burned out.  My concern is that this CM had a charter-friendly trainer who has never seen a conventional public school.

I had envisioned being THE teacher who made THE difference in the lives of students in a down and out school. But I realized that attitude was completely vain. My school didn’t hire me to be a light-in-the-darkness for students. They hired me to work really hard alongside a bunch of other people who are working really hard. I may or may not be THE teacher who makes THE difference, but my students will be better readers for having been in my class.

This, again, is very revealing.  Basically she / he is saying that if she / he had been in a conventional public school she / he would be THE one to make THE difference.  Now at a charter school she / he can just be one component of a perfectly functioning machine.

I’m really bothered by this post.  Keep in mind that the Tulsa institute ended two weeks ago.  So this new CM somehow made it though five weeks of institute and various other trainings with this view that the ‘public’ schools are a mess and in need of a savior while the charters have already solved all the problems that the publics have not been able to.

I should also note that I ‘get’ what she / he is saying.  I remember not wanting to go to too ‘good’ of a school my first year either.  You join TFA to ‘make a difference’ so you want the toughest possible placement and a ‘high performing’ charter seems like a place where you are not ‘needed.’  It is one thing to want to go to a public school — I’m all for that, but another to believe the stereotype about the burned out teachers there.  The truth is that it is probably better for first year TFAers to go to charter schools where they can inflict the least amount of damage.  Then, ideally, they would transfer to the public school for their second year.

I would say that this is TFA’s fault, though, for not being ‘accountable’ and either encouraging this mindset or, at least not discouraging it.

Here is the entire post.  There was no place to leave comments on the original, so I encourage the author to make a comment here if she / he would like to.  Again, I’m not picking on you.  I’m picking on your training that did not break you from this dangerous stereotype.

In a speech sometime this summer, someone said something like “It’s not about you, but it’s all about you.” What I think he meant was that this achievement-gap-closing-teaching-working-hard-never-sleeping work isn’t FOR me. It’s not for my benefit or glory or vanity. But at the same time, more and more the research is showing that the single most important element in the classroom (as far as student achievement is concerned) is the teacher. More than technology, textbooks, facilities, or prior knowledge, it is the teacher who does or does not make good learning happen.

My original Teach for America placement was high school English, but as anyone will tell you, placements are fluid, and I’m actually teaching sixth grade. I had envisioned myself teaching in a conventional public school where most of the teachers and students are burned out or apathetic, but I’m actually teaching at a charter school where the teachers all extremely focused and energetic, and the students are desperately seeking ways to put themselves on college-bound trajectories. I thought I’d be doing ELA or some combination of reading and writing/composition–it’s actually JUST reading. I thought I’d be writing curriculum (it’s mostly written). I thought I’d be the only teacher in my room (I’m co-teaching). I thought I’d be struggling to maintain high expectations of my students. In reality, I’ll be struggling to meet the high expectations of my school.

Needless to say, I’m not getting the Teach for America experience I thought I would be. As some of you might know, in my former life I’d get really upset when plans changed. I like to know what’s coming. I like to visualize the future. I like to plan. I dislike anything that prevents me from doing those things.

The thing I realized about two months ago is that that attitude just won’t work anymore. Plans change, period. My commitment to TFA was not contingent on what school I’d be in or what subject or grade I’d be teaching. My commitment was to work really hard to help students who are born into low SES neighborhoods change or improve their options. Ultimately this isn’t about the quality of my experience at all. It’s not about me at all.

So, those plans that changed, that’s okay. I was on the fence about teaching at a charter school for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest was this feeling I had that they just don’t really need me. The culture of this school is so strong and the expectations so high and the support system so good that I really believe any teacher who was placed there who was willing to do the work could help these students make the gains they need to make. I had envisioned being THE teacher who made THE difference in the lives of students in a down and out school. But I realized that attitude was completely vain. My school didn’t hire me to be a light-in-the-darkness for students. They hired me to work really hard alongside a bunch of other people who are working really hard. I may or may not be THE teacher who makes THE difference, but my students will be better readers for having been in my class.

 

30 Responses

  1. yoteach

    Gary, this post troubles me for two reasons.

    First, as someone who values useful/legitimate versus totally anecdotal data, I’m sure you realize that skimming through Teachforus for the most misinformed statements is an incredibly misleading way of getting a pulse of what institute CMs are thinking. Moreover, to then extrapolate that their mindsets are symptomatic of something in the TFA machinery is an even more tenuous logical step. In my experience, institute just doesn’t go into the differences between charter and district schools and instead focuses on general diversity competencies (like suspending judgment, which many corps members have a lot of difficulty doing as evidenced by this post). There will always be outliers no matter how good or bad a job TFA does at instilling these competencies, so picking one outlandish statement and conjecturing about TFA training is of the same statistical significance as picking out the lowest test from one of your students and extrapolating about your teaching.

    Second, you write “The truth is that it is probably better for first year TFAers to go to charter schools where they can inflict the least amount of damage. Then, ideally, they would transfer to the public school for their second year.” Why would a bad teacher inflict less damage at a charter school? A class of students is a class of students, and I hope you are not going down the path of neglecting the fates of those students just because you disagree with the institutions teaching them.

    Finally, you are right that a lot of corps members need a reality check. I would love to see you helping with this in a real, proactive way. This means spending less time finding any possible excuse to complain about TFA on your blog (even when you in fact know very little, like in this case) and more time going to institutes or regions and sharing your legitimate perspective. I know your more likely to become a big deal in anti-reform (your words) circles with this schtick, but do you really think this is most productive path?

    • Gary Rubinstein

      Yo Yoteach,
      I agree that this one example does not represent 5,500 new CMs. But when I think of all the things that would have to go ‘wrong’ in a training that should address these issues for someone to go through 5 weeks of training and still think this, makes me think that the training does not adequately address this. The fact is that the myth that there are schools overrun with burnt out teachers is part of the recruitment strategy so it is natural for them to think this unless it is made very clear, which it isn’t.

      As far as ‘doing the least damage’ in a charter school, I just meant that since it is, in general, ‘easier’ to teach there since the discipline problems are dealt with swiftly (don’t want them bringing down our test scores), so in that sense it is the perfect place for a first year to teach. In general it is better for a first year teacher to teach in a school that has a sense of order. It is better if that order is achieved ethically, and surely there are many charters that do that, though not the ones, I think, with the best test scores.

      Gary

    • Yoteach,

      I believe Gary is spot-on with this post. While TFA may not teach its CMs overtly, most folks coming out of TFA Institute end up with the very same assumptions, rhetoric, and savior complexes as this Oklahoma novice. Unfortunately, I think many CMs don’t even realize they have pre-conceived notions that are so damaging and inaccurate.

      And I also believe that Gary is right to point out the absolutely ridiculous statements, opinions, and assumptions coming from both individual CMs and the organization as a whole. Frankly, he’s the only one doing it. I am grateful that Gary is pushing back on an organization which he cares about and wants to improve.

      Offensive and inaccurate posts like “It’s Not About You” must be called out and challenged. I hope the writer uses this moment to re-examine his/her highly inaccurate assumptions. But regardless of whether or not he/she chooses to learn from this, at least all of us in the education debate had a chance to chime in.

      Thanks again Gary for opening this space for dialogue.

  2. Meg

    As a CM in a charter school (in a region where a number of CMs are in charter schools) not one word was said to me before the first day of school (or honestly since then) on behalf of TFA about the charter/public issue. If this CM thinks that walking into a charter school is some sort of utopia, it’s her own fault. She’s an adult, and has a responsibility to do some research on her school and the other schools in her area before she starts – its not TFA’s job to do it for her. I think it’s unfair to place the onus on TFA for this.

    What troubles me the most, however, is this idea (that I have found common in teachers new to charters) that charters are some sort of utopia where behavior problems are nonexistent and you’re surrounded by angelic deeply driven students. If a charter school culture is strong (which is only sometimes true) it becomes so because the culture is upheld and enforced by all teachers. If this CM thinks that she won’t have to actively work to engage and manage her students, her first year is going to be a nightmare.

    (As an unrelated aside, I think the quieting may be that many Southern regions have started inservice/school already, and others are moving toward Orientation week; less time = less blogs)

  3. Michael Fiorillo

    Is it surprise that this organization, which has a consistent pattern of complicity with attacks on the public schools and their teachers, would either actively spread disinformation about them to new recruits, or else fail to disabuse them of the stereotypes they bring with them?

  4. I wonder at what point charters schools went from being mostly public schools with a particular content focus and/or experimental approach, to being basically publicly-funded private schools?

  5. EMinNM

    I think you’re being a little hard on this CM (and TFA by extension). She is talking about her vision of what TFA would be like, which was based on all the Kool-Aid and Teacher Movies we’ve all heard and seen, and then about her reality of the specific charter school she ended up in. I don’t see any attempt to generalize about all charter schools or all public schools, but rather a comparison between the imagined failing school and the reality of a particular school. The conundrum is one of feeling like your school isn’t “bad” enough; didn’t you yourself advocate in an earlier post for CMs being able to decline placements based on the school not being low-performing enough? It’s not TFA’s fault that people don’t always get what they expected. At any rate, if her charter is terrible and her fellow CMs have excellent public school placements (or not), she’ll find out soon enough, and it still won’t be as a result of TFA’s sessions.

    • Gary Rubinstein

      I can definitely appreciate wanting to go to a school where the kids are more ‘needy’, but that ‘neediness’ isn’t from having burnt out teachers but from having so many out-of-school factors as obstacles, and that’s the point I’m trying to make.

    • This new CMs post was offensive to all the hard-working teachers in our nations schools. And the sentiment expressed is in part why so many teachers out there despise TFA. The arrogance is appalling. There is no sense of “I’m joining a team already doing great things in very trying circumstances” but instead the “savior-complex” is palpable. “I had envisioned myself teaching in a conventional public school where most of the teachers and students are burned out or apathetic”? As someone who worked a “conventional” school, I am offended.

      While it’s true that this novice will hit reality soon enough, I hope he/she has the humility to apologize and even take down the post. And I hope that fellow TFAers educate and guide this person away from his/her flawed views on public education. But I get the feeling that many in TFA, instead of correcting, will agree and encourage this type of rhetoric.

      • The savior attitude isn’t just disrespectful to teachers – it’s really condescending to families and students. Families at my high-needs school do not require a well-meaning novice teacher to save them from themselves or their circumstances. This attitude and all the racist and classist baggage it carries is one I wish TFA would combat directly. It fits in well with their narrative, sure, but it’s really damaging both for its CMs and the schools where they teach.

      • Jo

        Y’all are being ridiculously harsh. The whole point of the post in question is that the CM is young and green and learning to question previous assumptions. Oh my, how arrogant of her! The post does not need to be taken down. Everyone needs to take a step back and breathe!

        • KatieO

          I stand by what I wrote. The idea that charters are full of hard-working “savior” teachers and public schools filled with “burned out” or apathetic teachers is the overarching implication. The writer does say he’s come to terms with not being “THE one” because he will be in the charter full of many “THE ones”. He never back-tracks on the idea that “conventional” schools are full of burnt-out apathetic teachers and students.

          Too many in TFA do not grasp the social, political, and economic legacies in our public schools. They do not understand the long, proud struggle for union protections. They do not understand the already existing community and school ties fighting against the historcal racism, disenfranchisement, and denials of basic human rights in our schools especially around school funding issues and local control of schools.

          Instead, too many come in and only see charters with the “good” (read hard-working, naive, young, inexperienced, and privledged out-of-towners) without any grasp of the political forces surrounding education policies and how things became the way they are. They don’t see how the neighborhood schools have been purposefully starved for decades. They don’t see the crushing “accountability” demands being forced on neighborhood schools strangling innovation and joy. They don’t see how charters can control the student population (namely, pushing out students with disabilities or behavior/learning problems) as well as the number of students for an easier-to-teach student body. They don’t get the politically connected, elite forces vying for scare edcuation resources and how charters fit in. They don’t see how the unstainable pace of those young, naive novices damages the teaching profession long-term. They don’t see how the exploitation of a few volunteers (who because they have an “out” into better-paying careers which will have implicit respect and autonomy and therefore have no stake in the long-term implications of their participation in TFA) hurts all other teachers everywhere as unions are battered and destroyed.

          These assumptions matter. And they pervade TFA literature and rhetoric. TFA indoctrinates its recruits strongly into the idea of being “saviors” fighting for civil rights, when in fact TFA serves a much more nefarious purpose in the politics of ed reform.

          This newbie, plus all who defend him, have a lot left to learn.

  6. left TFA, still a teacher

    I think this CM is reflective of many well meaning but uninformed TFAers. Many enter TFA not because they want to teach per say, but because they believe in the cause of social justice and see this as their contribution. In a whip around exercise of students at institute, I remember the most prevalent reasons for joining being justice and equality, not loving children or wanting to teach.

    That is a noble but vague ambition when you are faced with the day to day classroom. Then if you are in a *seemingly well run and high achieving charter school,I can see (and have heard) some CMs question their purpose. They were there, like this CM, to help those who need them most, who otherwise wouldn’t get a committed teacher. Here, the school is full of them. This changes the personal narrative for the CM, though not the job.

    I think this entry is a window into the duality of visions of teachers in the media and popular culture. On one hand heroes, the other lazy bums who barely work for their public salaries. Its all over CNN and every other news outlet. Whether teacher apathy and failing ratings are emphasized by TFA in this region (and in other regions without teacher shortages but with TFA contracts it was and likely still is), it changes the purpose and the importance of the role of one person, as this corp member has smartly realized.

    • I think many teachers at high-needs schools, especially the veterans, have some social justice orientation to their work. But they generally don’t have a savior complex; it’s more like that quote from Aboriginal activists:

      “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

      Given that TFA’s Corps Members do come in with an interest in social justice, I think they could be pushed to think more of themselves as participants and not leaders. It would certainly benefit their practice.

  7. I personally think you’re reading too much into this person’s post. This CM has a similar mindset to most Americans–especially those who live in/near urban districts. In Detroit (where I’m from) and Milwaukee (where I’m teaching) very few residents want to go to DPS/MPS. They have a terrible wrap. Am I saying there aren’t good DPS/MPS schools? Absolutely not. Look no further than Cass Tech in Midtown Detroit or Rufus King here in Milwaukee. But, on the whole, these districts are not presented in a positive light and the people of these cities feel the same.

    Throughout Institute, I never heard a bad thing about a public school. Maybe it is because I hung out with a left-wing crowd and we all really wanted to teach in public schools. But I think it is because at Institute we’re not concerned about pubic, charter, or, in the case of Milwaukee, voucher, but rather how we’re going to reach our students regardless of where we’re hired during the school year. At least, that’s how I’ve felt in Milwaukee and during Chicago Institute.

  8. CY

    I think that this person (and many TFAers) simply come into the whole experience with that view. You may be right that TFA should do more to discourage it, and I think my region did a good job during induction in my first year, but to suggest that they TEACH this mindset to CMs is to promote an inaccuracy. I remember nothing being said to denigrate traditional public school teachers at institute and at any TFA event.

  9. Dave W

    This should be a reality check for TFA’s recruitment team. As selective as they try to appear, are they still having trouble determining who would be a decent 1-2 year teacher? It’s pretty clear to me when I meet someone in the first five minutes of talking to them if they are full of hot air. When I was a corps member a while back, I remember some people who didn’t get accepted into the program, even though they would’ve been significantly better than some of the jokers I met in my corps. Here is my advice for the TFA recruitment team in order to bring in better candidates. In order of importance…

    1. humility
    2. work-ethic
    3. perseverance
    4. resilience
    5. high EQ
    6. reasonable IQ

    Unfortunately, many corps members I meet lack #1. “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I’ve worked with many corps members in my nearly 10 years of teaching, and I can usually determine within the first few weeks or months who will be somewhat effective in their first 2 years of teaching. I stress somewhat effective, and it often times comes back to #1.

    First clue – They don’t say much during their first year, keeping their mouth shut about education policy, unions, ed reform, and grandiose plans for solving every problem in education.

    Second clue – They take the time to figure out who the 5-10X teachers are in their building and gravitate towards them for advice, guidance, and feedback.

    Third clue – They don’t hog air time during professional development, which is a sign of insecurity and not knowing the first thing about what you’re talking about.

    Fourth clue – They meticulously self-reflect and diligently practice the teaching craft through trial and error.

    Fifth clue – They never boast about how great things are going in their classroom and how they are on the verge of making significant gains.

    Sixth clue – They don’t start looking for internship opportunities in January of their first year and begin working on their graduate school applications.

    Seventh clue – They acknowledge that they are not good teachers but will get better with time.

    I am probably missing a few, but my list is close to fool proof. To be fair, I will say that I’ve seen corps members who have demonstrated some of these characteristics grow up and become much better professionals. Immaturity exists and none of us are immune to fault. I’m sure if I went back to my placement school and asked the older more experienced teachers about me, they would probably say I demonstrated some of these characteristics as well.

  10. Dan

    I think, Gary, that you are missing the point of this CM’s post. He / she admits to having unverified negative assumptions about public schools and a savior complex, and then describes *how he / she got over it*. You are taking the author to task on beliefs that he / she clearly doesn’t hold anymore. But I suppose you’ll take any opportunity to grind your favorite ax, huh?

  11. Marie

    Clearly Gary, you need to re-read this CMs post. Dan you obviously read the post with comprehension. I believe that all our schools need this type of reflective, dynamic, and dedicated teachers. As “Left TFA; still a teacher” says about the realization that this CM has already construed concerning the role of one person; he/she is able to think for himself and adjust his perspective. I want that teacher teaching my children and working in my school.

    • Gary Rubinstein

      Dan / Marie,
      I did re-read this post very carefully, and I think you both need to re-read what I wrote to see that I did not misread this. His/her point is NOT that he/she has realized that it is not the teachers job to be THE one. He/she has had to readjust to the reassignment to a ‘high performing’ charter school where he/she won’t have the opportunity to be THE one. He/she still, the way I’m reading this, thinks that ‘conventional public’ schools are filled with burned out teachers, and that is what my point is when I say that this is what TFA teaches CMs about public schools and charters, which is the title of my post.

  12. samwalker4

    Dear Mr. Rubinstein,

    Thank you so much for your close reading and thoughtful criticism of my blog post entitled “It’s Not About You.” I’m a casual follower of your blog, and I really appreciate your fierce advocacy for students and education, though I don’t always agree with you. I’m more than a little shocked and embarrassed to find my own words a target for your critical lens, but I’m looking forward to the dialog. This reply is really long (sorry!), but I wanted to be as thorough as possible in my response. Incidentally, I didn’t realize my comments were disabled. I’m not exactly sure how to re-enable them.

    I can see now that I did a really terrible job of expressing myself in that post. My purpose in writing it got totally lost behind some (truly) poorly written comments. I’d also like to add that my blog is meant only to reflect my own experiences. I’m not at all commenting on ALL charter schools or the experiences of ALL corps members, simply my experience of my own school community. My statements about my school were observations after having been there for two weeks. In fact, I had pretty negative and doubtful feelings about working at a charter school (having been influenced very much by your blog and others like yours as well as my own experiences with them) until I got here and met the teachers and students of my school. The students who are here during the summer by their own choice ARE working incredibly hard to put themselves on college-bound trajectories. The teachers here are extremely focused and energetic. I know there are plenty of charter schools out there where these things are not true as well as plenty of public schools where it is true. However, I just was describing my particular experience at a specific school so far.

    Beyond that, the purpose of my blog was to describe a bad mindset I had BEFORE Institute. I was trying to own up to a savior complex I had when I was initially accepted to TFA (last November) and then show how my thinking had changed (mostly in May and June of this summer). I was attempting to be self-critical and vulnerable about an attitude I used to have that I’m no longer proud of. Yes, I had envisioned myself as being THE teacher who made a difference in the minds of my particular students, and it was very much about my own importance. I had resisted the idea of going to a charter school at first because I thought I would be less important. This was clearly wrongheaded. Now I understand that it’s just not about me at all. It’s about showing up and working really hard on behalf of students (hence the title “It’s Not About You”).

    Finally, I try not to comment directly on Teach for America as an organization because I don’t think my perspective could accurately represent the thousands of people who are involved, but I think in this one instance I really should. At Institute every corps member was partnered with a faculty advisor who was a veteran teacher in the school district we were working in. My faculty advisor had taught in low-income public schools in Tulsa for 36 years. Veteran teachers observed us and gave us feedback every day and played major roles in our development as teachers. There were sessions dedicated to discussing the benefits and implications of building good relationships with veteran teachers and school communities, and TFA was constantly emphasizing respect and humility. At no point were they teaching us to dislike or disrespect public schools or the teachers who work so hard in them. At no point in my TFA experience have I been taught anything less than respect and appreciation for veteran teachers. In fact, so far in my TFA experience, we haven’t learned anything at all about charter schools vs. public schools. Everything I’ve learned about these topics has been from reading online (blogs like yours!) and personal experiences. Personally, I went to great public schools K through college, but my adopted brother went to a truly terrible charter school through middle school. In light of this, I think calling your post “What they teach the new CMs about public vs. charter schools” might be misleading.
    Shortly I will post this response to your post as well as an edited version of “It’s Not About You” renamed “It’s Not About Me” on my own blog to better describe how my mindset changed. Thanks for helping me see the poor job I’d done representing myself (and TFA), and I look forward to continuing to read your blog.

    Very truly,
    Sam Walker

    • Jo

      Keep up the good work, Miss Walker!

    • Gary Rubinstein

      Hi Sam,
      Thanks for leaving this comment and putting your post into full context. Always a problem with writing something is that once it is out there the author no longer has control over what was meant vs. what was written. As a literal reading, it definitely looks like you had never come around on what the public schools are like, but it seems that you actually have come a long way on that too, though you hadn’t clearly explained this.
      I also appreciate that you have a good attitude about my ‘featuring’ your post (unlike some of the commenters).

      One thing, though, is that I think you will soon learn that your new stereotype about your ‘high-performing’ charter will also change over time. The difference between your school and the school that you once thought had burned out teachers with low expectations is, mostly, the students. Yes, your school might have a lottery, but that is basically a filter that will exclude many of the most needy families who can’t get it together enough to fill out the application, no matter how ‘easy’ it might seem. They also might not have the means to get their child to your school if it is far away from them.

      You will also see, I feel pretty certain, kids who get ‘counseled out’ when they are not fitting in with the high-expectations no-excuses culture there.

      In that sense, you could make more of a difference in a public school since the kids are the needier kids (not because of bad teachers, but because that is partly why they were excluded / kicked out of the charters).

      This does not mean that the charter kids don’t deserve hard working teachers, because certainly they do. For me, though, I get concerned when the public schools suffer for not being able to keep up with the charters that are playing by different rules. That is why I’m pretty quick to read into your post, as it originally written. I’ll look forward to your next post and will write about it here as a nice example of how constructive dialogue can lead to greater understanding.

      I think you will also be surprised when you learn that even in this high-support environment that you have at your school, it will still be very difficult for your students to rise to meet your high expectations. If the students are already pretty skilled, then you will, of course, want to push them further. As someone who now teaches at one of the best high schools in the country, I can tell you that it is tough to get kids to rise to high expectations — it is probably the toughest part of teaching. And that is true everywhere, so I’ll be interested in seeing how your views of teaching evolve throughout your year.

      Definitely stay in touch and comment here when you’d like. To get comments enabled on your site you have to go to ‘settings’ and ‘comments’ I think.

      Gary

    • Real Talk

      Sam,

      Have fun playing pretend teacher at a charter school! I’m so sorry you didn’t get a chance to save the world.

      Sincerely,
      High School DOE English Teacher

      • Dan

        Have fun being an asshole! I’m so sorry you resent good-hearted people trying to fix a problem you’re a part of.

  13. Kimicus

    After reading the CM’s blog, then your response, and then her blog again, I fail to see why you are offended. She is clearly writing about her misconceptions coming into the program about “burned out teachers” and about how her perspective on being a “savior” has changed since being placed in a charter school. This is part of the process of becoming an effective teacher, is it not? She is learning to get over herself and work as a team with other motivated, engaged teachers. I applaud her for coming to this realization only two weeks into her placement and, undoubtedly, she will continue to evolve personally and professionally during this, the FIRST year of her teaching career.

    If you have an ax to grind with TFA, which you very apparently do, please do not hold up novice teachers for ridicule in order to do so. (Regardless of your stated intention not to this, based on the offensive comments on this post, you have de facto done so.) We need dedicated, engaged teachers like herself, who are willing to reflect on their misconceptions about what it means to teach. I applaud her for writing such a candid and personal post.

    • Gary Rubinstein

      Even the author admitted that the post was a bit misleading, so I don’t feel that bad for not realizing the extent of her change in feelings about public vs. charter schools. As written, the post definitely says that switching to the charter has caused her to come to terms with the fact that she won’t be the savior anymore since the charter kids don’t need a savior.

    • Megan

      It’s funny how you say “the FIRST year of her teaching career” because (unfortunately) most TFAers have only TWO years in their “teaching careers.”

      • Dan

        What else should we call it? the presumtive second-to-last? I fail to see the point you’re trying to make.

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