Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obligatory TFA Post

My uncle, the CEO, asked the right question to get me to talk about my Teach For America experience. “What would you change?”

There are lots of things TFA does well. I received more help in my classroom from the TFA South Dakota support staff than I did from my school’s teacher mentor. TFA observed me regularly, if not frequently. My mentor never made it into my classroom while students were present. TFA maintained clear expectations of me. Their Teaching as Leadership rubric gives concrete ways to improve my methodology. My school constantly shuffled its directions, saying it wanted one thing but not following through.

So what would I change?

I want TFA to share more openly. TFA melds the “best practices” and look to improve them, but I don’t see the push back into the wider education world. Why can’t anyone who wants to be a better teacher look at the Teaching as Leadership rubric? Must the Resource Exchange be unaccessible to people who aren’t affiliated?

There are plenty of reasons not to share. Copyrights. Staffing issues. Critiques from te rest of the education world. 

But the vision that motivates us isn’t about TFA teachers. “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.” That tells me we should help everyone be their best.

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