Skip to main content

Gary Rubinstein’s Blog: TFA Continues to Set New Corps Members Up for Failure

In video four, Julia (Wearing jeans while teaching!  Why is the TFA staff OK with this?) is seeing big improvements after six day.  Jae’s class is noticeably larger than the classes of the other corps members from what I can see.  Michael and Madison both say that they are learning how to “be themselves” which is some of the more oversimplified advice for new teachers and can be quite dangerous.  The most encouraging part is the revelation by both Tyler and Madison about breaking down the process of analyzing a story with a graphic organizer.  We hear so much about “have high expectations” yet there is also the somewhat opposite practice of “scaffolding” which, by definition, is lowering your expectations in order to help students learn a skill with a certain degree of hand-holding.  This is why I do think there is hope for Tyler and why I am angered that their training experience is inadequate.

Episode five is coming soon (assuming the entire project isn’t shut down by my bringing attention to it!  Why does everything I touch turn to mud?) and, not to put any pressure on these six I know they have enough to worry about, I hope that they’ll be willing to have a follow up interview with me six months from now (and that TFA permits them to).

TFA is like a very ugly mosaic despite each of the individual little squares being perfectly fine.  I think TFA did a nice job in selecting these corps members and also in choosing them for this video.  I can see all six of these corps members teaching beyond their two year commitment and they do not seem like the type that are going to grow up and become heartless TFA ‘reform’ leaders and join the profitable world of teacher scapegoating.  I know I’m going to take some criticism for this post, as happens whenever I do one like this.  Listen, it’s not my fault that TFA continues to neglect the training program.  I’ve been begging them to fix it for twenty years and I have email threads to prove it!

Teachers are constantly being evaluated by administrators, and even by their own kids, so I hope a bit of free, though not requested, evaluation from a veteran teacher who was a one time teacher trainer for TFA and also wrote a few books about teaching isn’t so bad.  I don’t do this to ridicule them, but to bring attention to TFA’s failure to take seriously their responsibility to provide their trainees with proper training.

Note:  This has been a bit of an annual tradition for me.

For my advice to 2014 corps members go here.

For my advice to 2013 (including my famous not-quite ‘viral video message) corps members go here.

This blog post has been shared by permission from the author.
Readers wishing to comment on the content are encouraged to do so via the link to the original post.
Find the original post here:

The views expressed by the blogger are not necessarily those of NEPC.

Gary Rubinstein

Gary Rubinstein is a high school math teacher. He is the recipient of the 2005 Math for America Master Teacher Fellowship. ...