Teaching in the D

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 23 2012

Recruit, Rinse, Repeat

A friend of mine wrote a fabulous blog post about TFA’s attrition rate during Institute (currently 11%) and its root cause: recruitment (read it at:¬†http://yoteach23.teachforus.org/2012/06/22/attrition-still-at-11-blame-recruitment-not-institute/). I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments, and I think TFA’s recruitment style has impacts far beyond Institute.
For those not familiar, the recruitment process is something like the following: Teach for America has several types of recruiters. The paid staff recruiters work in regions and help select a couple college students to be recruiters on their college campuses. At my alma mater, a junior and a senior who had expressed interest in education were recruited to become the campus staff. They arranged events, were at every job fair, and emailed everyone they knew supporting TFA and generally creating a buzz on campus. There’s something to be said for the fact that perhaps TFA would be better served by having only alumni of the corps (or…

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May 19 2012

Why I Left Teach for America

As some of you know, I left Teach for America in December. It was a hard decision, and I’ve tried to write about it several times since then, but none of the posts was quite right. I think now I’ve got it close enough to make public. There’s something of a wall of silence around…

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Oct 27 2011

Being Alone

Last Saturday was the TFA Detroit Summit, which concluded our First Eight Weeks (this is both a unit of time and our first big PD period where we’re being monitored for growth). It was good to see everyone from the corps, since I mostly just see the few TFA teachers at my school and the…

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Oct 18 2011

Probably Not The Intended Effect

About two weeks into this year, I gave my students a survey, which asked them a variety of questions. Some of them were personal, like what they want to be when they grow up and what their favorite movie is, and others were about the class specifically (like what would make class better). I’ve always…

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Oct 15 2011

“Don’t You Love Us?”

If asked what TFA is like, almost every person doing it who I spoke to during my senior year (mostly alumni of UChicago and first year corps members) said “It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done” and then said it was worth it. At the time I thought, “try having major personal commitments stretching across…

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Wow, I’m failing pretty badly at updating this blog. I understand now why people so rarely update their teachforus sites… teaching is a 26/7 job! Here’s a quick idea of my life: 6:00 – Wake up (if it’s a good, sleeping-in day) 6:30 – Get in my car, drive to school (oh how I miss…

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One of Teach for America’s biggest buzzwords (buzz phrases?) is “The Achievement Gap”. When we talk about the achievement gap, we mean the educational inequity (typically measured by test scores) between affluent, often white, students and their poorer, often minority, counterparts. This gap often represents several grade levels’ worth of knowledge. There are about a…

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Sep 03 2011

When is a Cucumber Not A Cucumber?

When the farmer’s market saleswoman tells you it’s a pickle! Today I ventured to¬†Eastern Market, Detroit’s most famous farmer’s market (over 4000 people visit some Saturdays). Eastern Market, located right in downtown Detroit, is HUGE! It is literally city block after block of tables of everything imaginable – animal, vegetable, mineral, and more! People sell…

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Aug 31 2011

Conversations I Keep Having

Scholastic asked bloggers to discuss the question “why is teaching important?” Despite all the pushback TFA gets, I can safely say that everyone understands that teaching is important. No one has ever once looked down on me and said “but… why would you want to be a teacher?” For all the discussion of the lack…

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Wow! It has been a WHIRLWIND two weeks, so I’m sorry for keeping everyone out of the (rapidly spinning) loop. Since my last update I have: 1. Finished Institute. (Blog post coming about this soon, hopefully) 2. Missed my Institute students dreadfully! (As, evidently, did at least one of them, who emailed me to say…

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One Girl's Teach for America Detroit Experience

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