I attended an NYCTF information session downtown today. Right off the bat, I was a bit put off by the timing and location of the whole thing. Did nobody down at NYCTF headquarters think it might be bad idea to have such a session 2 blocks from ground zero on September 11th? So my antennae are already up, sniffing out NYCTF idiocy.
The session was held at High School for Leadership and Public Service -- which, frankly, puts too much of an Orwellian ring in my ears, but anywho -- down on Trinity street, again, just south of ground zero -- oh sorry, Ground Zero. The session had three parts: 1) info, 2) talk by 2 former Fellows, 3) Q&A.
The information section was given by some dude from the NYCTF who was not a teacher himself. He is kind of their communications/applicant relations/website sort of guy, a little too hipster-dufus* for my tastes. While I'm sure everything he said was useful to many people in attendance, it was not substantially more than what can be gotten by combing their website for 20 minutes.
The talk from the two former Fellows was actually quite good. One was a guy, originally from a small town in upstate New York who moved to NYC to teach ESL in the Bronx. The other was a woman, a lawyer for 10-15 years before switching careers, who now teachings Special Education. They both had good stories and spoke well of the program -- but, I mean, it's not as if they would bring anyone in who had bad things to say about it.
The Q&A session was illuminating on two fronts. First, there actually were a handful of good questions. Second, so many of the questions were outlandishly moronic that it made me feel better about my chances of getting into the program. I actually felt like turning around to some of them and going, "Really? No ... seriously though .... really?! That's your question? Really?" One woman actually asked if, once accepted to the program, whether she could quit ........ the guy running the session wasn't even sure how to answer such a question. He eventually said, "Well, we're not going to ... you know ... come repo your car or anything," -- I enjoyed that.
The few tid-bits of useful information I got:
- Borough and topic assignments usually happen in mid-to-late April, but they may be trying to push the schedule a few weeks earlier this year, so everything might end up being pushed forward slightly
- the cancellation of the mid-year program means that about 120-130 of the spots might already be taken for the June 2009 program
- they've just started looking through June 2009 applications, so people who've applied early (i.e. Me!) should start hearing responses 2-4 weeks from now
* Hipster Dufus: Someone who has taken being hip and unique to an extreme and therefore worn the "cool" out of the hip.