May 14 2013

New TFAers read a Top 10 list on Letterman

On Letterman the other day, the top 10 category was:  Top 10 reasons I’ve decided to become a teacher.  Reading the reasons were ten brand new 2013 corps members.

So of course it is pretty ironic that out of all the perspective teachers in the country who could have been chosen from various education programs, they chose to have TFAers who really have not ‘decided to become a teacher’ but who have decided to teach for two years and, most likely, go onto something else.  Statistically speaking, at least one of those ten teachers will not make it through the first year.  Some of these ten (I won’t say which) will have a lot of work to overcome how young and soft-spoken they seem.

These were the top ten reasons:

10.  I hope to live up to the teachers who inspired me, like Ms. What’s-her-name

9.  It’s no fun saying the pledge of allegiance every day by myself.

8.  Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention the first time through school.

7.  Kids need to know the Moon landing was faked.

6.  If I could make a difference in just one student’s life — well, that wouldn’t be a very good average.

5.  The glamour.

4.  You work long hours, but at least the pay is bad.

3.  Hoping to teach in an all song-and-dance high school, like on ‘Glee’.

2.  In the summer, I can watch all you losers go to the office.

1.  I want to help kids talk good.
I don’t want to seem like a guy who has lost his sense of humor about things.  I started watching Letterman back in the late 1980s and though I haven’t really watched him in about ten years, I think he is a great talent.  Reasons 8 and 1 do have a bit of teacher bashing in them, the myth that most teachers come from the bottom of their graduating class (those who can’t do, teach).  Reason number 5 (the glamour) is also somewhat ironic as people do join TFA because of the glamour associated with it and the opportunities it opens up afterwards.

Anyway, I’m not overly offended by this, but I thought it would still be worth writing about.

5 Responses

  1. Did you see this “Onion-like” top ten list about why a fictional person joined TFA? It links to your blog.
    http://studentslast.blogspot.com/2013/05/top-ten-reasons-i-joined-teach-for.html

  2. David Shulman

    If any other profession got trounced this way, their association would be all over Letterman. Let’s see how long it takes for the AFT, the NEA, or Ed Week to do so. Putting TFA teachers in a classroom is like having a medical student operating on a patient ALONE after a week of medical school. Parents of kids in classes taught by those folk have a right to be outraged.

  3. Catherine Nelson

    Not sure on what basis you are calling it a myth that most teachers come from the bottom of their graduating class, but I think it is pretty well established that academically talented students in the US are less likely to choose teaching than their peers in other countries are. See the McKinsey study “Closing the Talent Gap,” which noted among other things that Singapore, Finland, and South Korea recruit 100% of their teachers from the top 1/3 of their graduating classes while the proportion is 23% in the US, 14% in high needs schools. This is not an ideological position or teacher bashing but a measure of the working conditions and respect afforded teachers in the respective countries.

    • There’s a difference between between coming coming from the bottom of the class and coming from the top third, though. Besides, framing the issue as a talent gap IS ideological; the framing presupposes that American teachers are less talented than other nations’. Perhaps if they were brighter they would be accorded more respect and better pay. I could as easily call it a respect gap or a pay gap.

  4. Ted Cook

    Top ten reasons I joined the TFA?

About this Blog

By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

Region
Houston
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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