Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Long delayed update...

Hello all:

So, this blog as lain dormant for quite some time -- and yet it has still gotten quite a bit of traffic and comments.

My plan to leave my career and become a teacher, like all great plans, was not successful. Changes in the economy, my personal life, and a change in jobs have -- at least for now -- put off any such move.

I will continue to leave the blog up as I think some people have still found it useful as a point of reference.

Thanks to everyone who commented and read.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More delays and financial upheaval

I got further communications from Teach for America. They've basically re-re-re-waitlisted for the time being. They were actually quite open and clear about the situation. School districts really don't know what they'll be able to afford next school year, and thus they have no idea how many teachers they'll have spots for. I'm not mad at them -- it is what it is. They intend to send out updates on status mid-April then again in May and provide FINAL statuses by end of May -- which I take to mean that if they still don't know the situation by the end of May, that they'll be canceling all further placements for this year.

I'm to hear back from NYC Teacing Fellows next week, but I imagine it will be much the same response.

Aside from all this, there's been some major ground-shifting under my feet in the meanwhile. Without going into great detail, let's just say that the financial landscape for me and my wife has undegone a fairly signifiant change recently. Between this and the ungoing uncertainty with both TFA and NYCTF, I really don't see me going into the teaching profession right now.

Perhaps this was not my time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Waiting -- Teach for America and NYC Teaching Fellows

As per their schedule, I got an update on my waitlist status from Teach for America on Jan 20. My new status is that I have to continue to wait. I still haven't been tossed curb-side, which I suppose is good, but I'll have to wait until March 10th for any more info.


I'm not sure what's up with NYC Teaching Fellows. They've begun sending out emails to people who interviewed in early December. Admissions are given on a rolling basis so, ostensibly, someone who interviewed on Dec 2nd (as I did) would hear before someone who interviewed on Dec 9th. But something is up. A friend of mine who interviewed on the same day that I did got an email saying she was waitlisted, several other people have posted to a message thread on the LiveJournal NYCTF site with their emails -- some outright rejected, others waitlisted, but none accepted. What's odd is that people who interviewed after me have received emails, but I have not.

My friend suggested that this might be a good sign. But knowing the Teaching Fellows, it could just as well be a bad sign, or a neutral sign, or a sign that my last name comes near the end of the alphabet and they simply haven't gotten to me yet.

Here are copies of the NYCTF waitlist and rejection notification emails, both copied from that LiveJournal thread linked just above. Thanks to both of the people who posted them:

Thank you for your continued interest in the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. At this time, we are reviewing your candidacy for the June 2009 program. Because of uncertainty about the budget, which will impact hiring needs for next school year, we are deferring admissions decisions until we have more information that enables us to better project the need for new Teaching Fellows.

Although we are unable to provide you with a final notification at this time, please be aware that you are part of a select group of applicants, and we will strongly consider your candidacy for our program. We expect to inform you of your final admissions decision by no later than Friday, March 27.

We thank you for your patience as you continue through the application process, and we appreciate your dedication to raising student achievement in the NYC classrooms that need you most. If you have any additional questions about the Fellowship, please do not hesitate to contact us at fellows@schools.nyc.gov or 718.935.4101.


Thank you for your interest in the NYC Teaching Fellows program. We appreciate the time and energy you have devoted to the application process and your desire to close the achievement gap. We have completed a final review of your application, and unfortunately, you have not been admitted to the Fellowship.

As you may know, the applicant pool for the Teaching Fellows program is extremely competitive. Each year we receive far more applications from qualified individuals than we have positions available.

We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

What's odd is that the wording in the waitlist notification email seems to be saying that it wasn't just this individual who was waitlisted, but that they are "deferring admissions decisions" for the entire program. If that is the case, I would think I'd have gotten the same email myself.

Not sure if that bodes well. I suppose it's a Good, Bad, or Let's See sort of situation -- as is getting into either program at all. Perhaps my path goes a different route altogether. We shall see.

If I hear anything else, I'll be sure to post it up here.

I finally heard back from NYCTF. It looks like they are only giving out rejections and waitlist emails. They aren't giving out any actual admissions right now because they have no idea what the demand will be from the schools. They say that we (meaning anyone who wasn't outright reject ed) should hear some final word from them by March 27th at the latest.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My TFA, My LAST, My Everything

A few updates here.

First, someone commented on a previous post that the "letter" that you see when you log into the TFA applicant portal changed, and now said that we're waitlisted through March, and not until January 20th. As soon as I saw this, I logged in and checked. Indeed, it said March. I was pissed beyond description.

However, I looked today and it says January 20th once again.

Go figure.

I guess I'm still going to find out on Jan 20th. My guess is that it was a technical/computer burp.

There was some other comments on the NYC Teaching Fellows Live Journal site that indicated that the wait time for hearing back from the Teaching Fellows had changed, and it would be 8-10 weeks rather than some other length of time. But really, 8-10 weeks from my initial interview (Dec 2) puts me in the end of January, which is kind of what I was expecting anyway.

And finally, I got my results in from the LAST exam (the intial teacher certification exam that ev ery NY teacher has to take). I won't get into the particulars, but I passed with flying colors.

I'm still feeling a little unsure and fairly anxious about all of this. With the economy doing what it's doing and the NYC education system having to cut back as it is, I wonder if this is the right year for me to be doing this.

Hopefully I'll have some answers in the next week or two.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Thumb Twiddling and To Sir, WIth Love

God, the waiting. THE WAITING.

I think the soonest I'll hear anything is January 20th -- the date I'm suppose to hear back with more info from Teach for America. However, in rereading the email they sent me back in November, I did notice that they did not say they would necessarily tell me if I were in or out on that date, only that they would provide me with an update on my status. So, in reality, come Jan 20th, they could simply tell me that I'm STILL on the waitlist. Maddening.

And I really have no firm date by which I'm suppose to hear back from NYC Teaching Fellows. I've gotten various answers back from different people. I've heard 5 weeks after the interview (which would be tomorrow). I've heard mid-January. I've heard late-January and even early-February. It's like they've got a drunken monkey spinning a wheel-of-luck doo-hickey in their office deciding our fate.

Anyway, now on to "To Sir, With Love" -- a pretty cool movie with Sidney Poitier. He's a clean-cut, well spoken teacher in a bad school in a bad neighborhood in London. His kids are in their final year of schooling and utterly unteachable. He decides to throw out the curriculum and, instead, teach them about life -- he starts with manners, making everyone in the class call eachother as Sir or Ms. and by their proper, last name.

The movie is one of the better of the "teacher makes a difference" genre, though a bit dated. Of course, if "Sir" was teaching in NYC, he'd be unable to do any of this, because of the regents exams. 8)

Anyway, if you haven't seen it, check it out.

Really, for no good reason whatsoever, I wandered over to the NYCTF website and looked at what they had up under Application Timeline. They say that applicants should hear by mid-January and that those who interviewed in early December (i.e. ME) should hear within five to seven weeks. So 5-7 weeks puts me at anywhere between tomorrow and January 20th.

We'll see if they actually get back to me in that timeframe.

OK, that's all.

This post has been quoted over on GothamSchools.org.

Also, I should add that that, after an email from me asking a few question, I got a nice email from the folks at the NYC Teaching Fellows. They answered my questions and also informed me that I would be hearing some word by, and I quote, "mid-late January."

I'm going to unilaterally decide that "mid-late" means somewhere between Jan 15th and Jan 25th.

I should start up a betting pool on when I'll actually hear from them.

Monday, December 15, 2008

LAST exam, quick review.

I took the LAST exam (one of the first NYC teacher certification requirements) this past weekend. It's a general knowledge and general analytical skills assessment test. There's really no way to study or prepare for it -- maybe other than simply looking at a sample exam up on the state's website. It really could be described as a "making sure you're not a moron" test, which I suppose is not that bad to have.

It consists of 80 multiple-choice questions and a 300-600 word essay, for which you're given 4 hours, which is WAY too much time. I'm completely anal about taing standardized tests and check/re-check my answers a ton, and I was out of there in just over 2hrs. Again, if you're on the road to teaching in New York, you'll need to take this exam, but it's a fruitless endevour to fret or at all concern yourself with this test. If you can pass it, you're fine -- and if you can't, there' really no way of changing that -- other than boning up on ALL OF KNOWLEDGE ... 8)

Of course, I'm really hoping that I wasn't pushing on fate to have taken this certification exam before getting into either the New York Teaching Fellows program or Teach for America. Ugh.

Now, it's just a waiting game -- about a month to go before I should hear from both.

Friday, December 12, 2008

LAST exam tomorrow -- head start? or Karmic disaster?

Anyone who wants to teach in the NYC public schools, regardless of the route by which they get there (NYC Teaching Fellows, Teach For America, traditional certification) needs to jump through a number of hoops, one of which is the LAST exam.

LAST stands for Liberal Arts and Sciences Test and consists of 80 multiple-choice questions plus a 400-600 word essay. As per NY State's own language on it, "The explicit purpose of [the exam] is to help identify for certification those candidates who have demonstrated the appropriate level of knowledge and skills that are important for performing the responsibilities of a teacher in New York State public schools." -- or put another way, to make sure that teacher's have a basic level of genereal knowledge and aren't dumbasses.

I'm taking the exam tomorrow.

I wanted to get a jump on the game and get this one rather bothersome requirement out of the way so I'd be ahead of the game come Spring (since there are other exams and requirements to deal with). I do worry that it may have been a giant Karmic kick in my rear-end, since I haven't actually been accepted to either NYC Teaching Fellows of Teach for America yet.

oy vet.

I'll provide some notes on the exam this weekend.

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