TFA Alum speaks out

A few months ago I read an impassioned piece written by a professor Mark Naison from Fordham University about why he did not allow TFA recruit in his graduate classroom. I shared it with a close friend who had recently completed her TFA fellowship to see what she thought of this. Unfortunately a bid to critically evaluate an organization’s mission and impact was internalized as an ad hominem attack. I have the deepest respect for her teaching and her commitment to stay in teaching unlike many of her colleagues. We straightened out our miscommunication but I was reminded about our discussion when I stumbled upon a video entry from a TFA Alum who came out with a dissenting opinion. His struggle reminded me of my own teaching fellowship in Newark, NJ where I often felt defeated and hopeless and was at a loss of how to help my students.

What do you think of his story? How representative is his view? What other alternative perspectives are out there that come directly from the source- the operating core of idealistic middle-class Ivy league educated millenials ? I would like to see survey data that shows the satisfaction of TFA alums of their Summer Training and their experience as a corps member from a neutral 3rd party.

I feel like he was speaking from the heart until the part about having insufficient access to books as a 7th and 9th grade English teacher. He  mentions that the school library had not grown in a few years and the student had read through the entire set. Upon submitting his 2 weeks notice, he had an exit interview.When asked why he did not reach out regarding obtaining more books he shifts the responsibility to the principal and (at 8:22) claims he does not remember if he asked the principal for more books. A bit absurd that you would not recall such an important factor. I think this weakens his argument as the burden of responsibility falls on him to request a resource necessary to lesson delivery and instruction. Also the part about now having a english curriculum was strange.

Source: http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/teach-for-america/


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