Stuff Students Say

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 03 2012

General frustrations

If you’re hoping for entertaining kiddo stories, sorry in advance.  This post has two purposes:  a healthy vent, and some curiosity about how these things work in other TFA regions (specifically numbers 1 & 2).


#1:  I already used up my one allowed Professional Saturday skip in December, in order to catch up on grad work and school work.  I unexpectedly had to miss this month’s ProSat for a family member’s funeral.  TFA initially told me I wouldn’t be penalized, but now they’ve changed their mind and said the only excused absences are for school commitments and religious holidays.  Crappy, yeah, but I’ll suck it up and do the required 4 make-up hours of professional development before June 2nd (somewhere in all my free time), because I want my Americorps grant and TFA knows it.  It’s just the principle of the thing.  Anyone have a similar experience in another region?  My region is still relatively new, and I feel like they make up a lot of policies on the fly.


#2:  I’ve just about had it with TFA’s school partner for licensure in Minnesota.  90% of the program is busywork, and the thought of spending 2 nights per week in grad classes for another full year (5:30- 9pm!) absolutely kills me.  Not to mention the countless hours I’ll never get back spent on “reading summaries” and “personal reflections.”  I’m trying everything possible to get ahead on coursework during the summer, but the school only offers regular master’s program classes instead of the special TFA ones, and they’re twice as many credits/twice as expensive.  Sucky.  I’m tempted to take the easy route and only complete the minimum amount of courses required to get through my 2nd year with a provisional license.  But then I’ll be done with TFA without even a teacher’s license to my name.  (I’m still not sure if I’ll want to continue teaching beyond the 2 years).  Plus, I won’t be able to take full advantage of the Americorps education award that TFA has me jumping through hoops for.  Thoughts/advice, anyone?


#3:  After spending 2 days with one of my most behavior-challenged kids during standardized testing, a superior at my school has up and decided that he is beyond out of control and needs major interventions, NOW.  Well cool, thanks, I only wrote him up for serious behavior incidents about 23423423 times during first semester before I realized that it was utterly pointless and I would never get any help.  Funny thing is, I’ve more recently come to some sort of weird understanding with him where he seems to reserve his most sinister behaviors for other adults in the building who really piss him off (i.e., when he’s forced to test in another room away from his friends as punishment).

3 Responses

  1. For kids that are behavior challenged, I think there needs to be some intervention.

  2. K.F

    Question, is it absolutely mandatory to get teacher certified with TFA if you don’t plan on teaching right afterwards? For example, I’m planning on attending grad school following my time with TFA and it’s disheartening to see that certification can cost nearly 20k for 2 years..

    • Meg

      Yes, in order to teach in a public school classroom (like all TFA teachers do) you need to at minimum be enrolled in an alternative certification program if you’re not already licensed. The programs vary a lot from state to state, and you can see certification costs on the website. If you’re concerned about paying for certification I’d suggest checking that out. For example, TFA is authorized to certify internally in TN so CMs in Nashville and Memphis don’t pay out of pocket for certification and do all their certification work through TFA PD (It was 7 Saturdays this year).

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I used to be a journalist. Now I just quote students.

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