Sunday, June 23, 2013

TFA - the villan, the savior, the man-made organization

As you may know, I am an incoming Teach For America (TFA) Corps member this year. For many people this means very little, other than I will be a teacher and that is cool.

Other folks, however think and speak differently about the organization.

The Villan

I have read enough anti-Teach For America arguments to know that there are embedded within the diatribes and finger-pointing some good points. However there are accusation about the short training time TFA teachers have over the summer, griping against fast turnover, complaining about how TFA is a capitalist plot to privatize education, and blatant rude generalizations that remind me of anti-mormon literature from the 1800s.

What I realized yet again?

The Savior

On the other hand, I have heard about some folks who talk as if TFA is the answer to many (if not all) problems. It is probably these kind of comments that fuel the "villan" response in people. I know I would get pretty angry if I had been teaching in a classroom for 20 years and then some kid who has never taught in his or her life walks in and says something like, "You should do your teaching my way, because I am TFA!" Thats just . . . dumb. Along this vein, I shudder to think that there could be some TFA corps members here because it is just a job and offers a nice launch pad into business etc.

Man-Made Organization That Just Wants to Do a Good Job and Actually Does Do a Pretty Good Job

Obviously the title of this little section will never be popular or cool because it is moderate and recognizes reality. The fact is that TFA is not a person, it isn't even a monster or a super hero. Teach For America is an organization full of all kinds of people. You might not believe it is true, but then again you might not believe there is such thing as a thoughtful male, a smart blonde, a Christ-loving Mormon, a kind Arab, a corrupt American, a school full of teachers cheating for their students, and all sorts of other facts that exist despite our stereo types and logical fallacies.

As educators we should and must be better than this.

I am proud to be a part of an organization where the corp member who drives this car . . . .

can proudly work and learn with the corp member who wrote this piece about private education.

Anyway, got to get ready for another week of learning, sweat, and tears.

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