Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Teaching Fellows versus Teach for America

On the surface, both programs acheive the same end -- a short-cut to the classroom. They both have a quick-n-dirty training session over the summer. They both have some sort of support network. Many similarities.

I found an interesting post on the LiveJournal/TeachForAmerica community board, from which I'll quote:

TFA is sort of like a brainwashing evil cult, in my experience, whereas the fellows has the exact same training and support network without the mindfuck. That said, it's a lot easier to fall through the cracks in the fellows and be a lame teacher flying under the radar, whereas TFA is all over you like white on
rice if you suck. WHich is a good thing, I think.

Very interesting. Just from my experience so far, I kind of had the same feelings. I think I even used the word "cult-ey" a few blog posts ago. Not sure what (if anything) to make of this ... just interesting


Melissa said...

Hey, that's *my* quote! Thanks, I guess, although now I'm certain that everyone in TFA has seen that and I'm going to get an angry letter or accosted on the street or something.

I'm interested in your quest to be a city school teacher. It's a transformative experience, for sure, good or bad, you'll never be the same.

Good luck!

Bronx2020 said...

Thanks Melissa. Your take on TFA vs NYCTF is, I've come to learn, even more apt and more correct that I originally thought.

NYCTF is a little disorganized. TFA runs like clockwork -- and they are FOREVER talking about "their mission." If I have to hear about "their mission" one more damn time, I swear to shit I'm gonna start swinging. 8)

Bootsie said...

From my experience, TFA and Teaching Fellows are actually quite different. I work with a few Fellows, though I, myself, am TFA, and I've come to appreciate TFA more as a result. For starters, TFA is very much like a family. You will NEED that kind of support during your training institute. You may argue that you have friends, family, spouse, etc. but unless they are there, actually going to school with you from 6:00 AM to 4:30 PM, they simply won't get it. Also, if you need ANYTHING during your 2 year commitment, TFA will get it to you. I have lots and lots of complaints about TFA, but it does produce better-trained teachers and provide a structure that you will desperately ache for during your 1st year of hell (aka teaching).

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