Gary Rubinstein: What TFA Tells New Recruits About “the System”

Gary Rubinstein received a training film that Teach for America uses to prepare new recruits during their five-week preparation period for teaching. He found it very disturbing. Young people are given a portrait of a “system” that neglects children, and they are sent like Superman to fix things. No wonder so many of these idealistic young people don’t stay in teaching, when they discover how hard it is to be a good teacher or to change the “system.”

“To me these messages are not the sorts of things that are productive for new TFA corps members to be told to believe in their first days of institute. I don’t think they should start with the premise that the system is broken and a-la-Betsy Devos, it can’t get much worse, and then that the TFA teacher’s role is to somehow single handedly undo the deliberate decisions that have led to this. Instead I’d rather they were told that teaching is very hard and that teachers all over the country are working very hard despite limited resources and that TFA teachers are going to fight alongside these other teachers and try to learn from them and hope that they can quickly become like those experienced teachers so they won’t increase educational inequity for their own students.”

from sarah