Teach For America Horror Stories

I’m going to start compiling a list of links to Teach For America horror stories online to have on this post – a mini-database of sorts – also, please feel free to share your own TFA horror story by commenting on this post!



About jasherwilliamson

Hi my name is John Williamson. I'm currently working as a Classroom Coach with a non-profit called College Forward in Austin, TX. Our goal is to get high school students (primarily ones from low-income and first generation backgrounds) into and through college. Originally, I'm from Washington state (Seattle-area) and I went to school at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. Drop me a line if you want to know anything else about me... Peace and love,
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26 Responses to Teach For America Horror Stories

  1. Mallory says:

    Hey! Check out my blog http://www.malloryandthecity.blogspot.com for a year-long travelogue of my horror stories teaching in Chicago this year. We must’ve been at Institute together in ’10… glad we’re both free now!

    • jasherwilliamson says:

      Hey, thanks for posting! Yea, we must have been at Chicago together – I actually had a decent experience at Institute; largely because I was teaching high school students (the age level I was comfortable with and experienced with) and had a killer collaborative to work with…plus the kids I was teaching were mostly seniors who knew that this summer school was their last chance to graduate so they didn’t want to screw it up by being complete assholes…One of my friends is in the Chicago region. I guess he didn’t get hired back by his school for next year (which is pretty common here in Detroit too), so who knows if he’ll be back…I’m definitely glad I got out when I did – only wish I had gotten out sooner so I didn’t let things push me so far past a point of mental health and sanity…

    • jasherwilliamson says:

      Thanks for giving us the link to your blog! Glad you got out with (most of) your soul still intact! 🙂

    • Katelyn says:

      Hi, I’m trying to do research on TFA; I am interested in doing it after I graduate. Can you send me an invite to read your blog? I can’t open it. 😦

      • Suzi says:

        Don’t do it!! My daughter is trying her best to survive and it’s one horrible horrible experience after the next. Including the $5,000 we’ve invested in the program where they don’t give you five minutes break to find housing in a new state during “institute” (Which by the way might put you into an “institute.); and expect you to move, yes, I really mean MOVE from Arizona to Colorado over 4th of July weekend….she didn’t even know where she would be until four days before she was suppose to start teaching…to make a VERY long and horrible story, after she FINALLY fell in love with her kids, decided to move her to a different school without any information about the school, grade, district, anything. I’ve had ENOUGH we are bringing her home >:0(!!!

    • Ben Stenhaug says:

      Hey Mallory, I want to read your blog but it says I need permission. Can I get that?

    • Kelly says:

      I would love to read your blog as I am currently trying to decide whether I am going to accept my TFA offer.

  2. Jacques Pierre JAmes says:

    I just left the Teach for America website, where I attempted to apply for the 2012 corps. I had tried to apply in 2010, and submitted my application before the deadline, but I received a message stating the contrary. Anyway…the website itself is a horror story. I tried to submit a new application and received cryptic error messages. I tried to open my existing application from 2010 and also received error messages, stating that I needed to start a new application (my previous efforts!). There is no “Contact Us” function, and no means to correct the functionless application forms. If the Teach for America website is any indication about the program itself, it is definitely a horror story in the making.

    • jasherwilliamson says:

      Thanks for your feedback. I hadn’t personally encountered any issues with their website (other than the fact that it spouts a bunch of bullshit TFA public relations nonsense) and didn’t have any problems applying myself back in 2010, but sorry to hear you had issues. Their website probably did you a favor by screwing up your application though, as it prevented you from joining this horror show of a program!

  3. Jacques Pierre James says:

    Dear jasherwilliamson,
    First of all, thank you for giving me and others a forum within which to recount the problems that have been encountered with “Teach For America”. Indeed, the difficulties have not been the same; I conjecture that this due to an inability of Teach For America planners to provide adequate solutions in a heterogeneous environment. For example, a colleague of mine, a former English teacher in the Los Angeles public school system for 20 years, was not accepted into the program, partly because of his age (in spite of being extremely healthy in mind and spirit – he is completing another book). He has told me that Teach for America hires young, inexperienced teachers almost exclusively; is this your impression as well? I am enthusiastic about bringing younger individuals and new ideas into the education scene. However, I don’t believe that older individuals should be excluded from any program that wishes to be innovative (e.g., achieving improvements through “Assessment Learning”, etc.). Elissa Clapp, Teach For America’s Senior Vice President of Recruitment, apparently is more concerned with producing a very large number of applicants, and less with selecting a diverse group of teachers for our country’s diverse classroom environment.

    • jasherwilliamson says:

      Yea, not surprising at all that TFA didn’t accept your friend. Very, very few older people are hired for the program (I knew of less than a handful out of over 100 Corps members in Detroit in the 2010 Corps who were over 30 – and they were likely primarily hired just so TFA didn’t get sued for age discrimination). TFA likes to prey on well-meaning, naive young people who don’t know how to stand up for themselves very well in many cases and who don’t have a lot of previous life experiences. This is largely because in general those young people are easier to inculcate with TFA jargon/the TFA mindset, won’t put up as much of a challenge to the TFA hierarchy and will generally tend to blame themselves when things go poorly in their teaching experience because it’s often the first or second out-of-college job experience these young people have (I partially include myself in this description of young, naive people)…plus younger people will have more time to move up into various positions of power in society after their two-year TFA Corps member experience, which TFA likes as well…

      TFA also likes to avoid hiring people with previous teaching experience or a regular teaching certificate/other kinds of teacher training (so your friend was a double no-no for them) – it’s very rare, although not unheard of. Again, I assume this is because it’s easier to inculcate people into the TFA ‘mindset’ who haven’t had previous successful teaching experiences or good teacher training. This point is also very much related to why TFA hardly ever brings in outside voices to help with teacher training, etc.

      TFA’s level of diversity when it comes to the race/ethnicity of Corps members is another issue altogether. They provided us with supposed ‘evidence’ during training that they were trying to recruit a more diverse Corps each year nowadays, but the majority of Corps members are still white, usually from an elite college and come from an upper-middle class background – the program continues to smack of elitism…

      • RFJ says:

        I have to agree about the desire of TFA to recruit young people straight out of college. I’m a current TFA Corps member, but am what they call “non-traditional” now. One of the biggest problems I find with TFA is how they say one thing and do the other. They talk about wanting to have a diverse corps, but 90% of the corps appears to me to be middle class, regardless of ethnicity. My biggest challenge is getting TFA staff to understand the fact that with a wife and a family I am not going to kill myself for them. It’s not a movement to me, but rather a way to get my teaching license. I often repeat the phrase “heaven protect me from the idealists and true believers” when I’m at the events and training. They seem truly surprised that I choose to spend time with my family rather then at their events.

      • Suzi says:

        They, “TFA,” took my beautiful, top 2% in her graduating class at a well accredited college, perseverant, well-intended, wanting-to-change-the-world daughter, and is breaking her spirit, emotional well being, and resolve. This is a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE program!!

  4. Disillusioned says:

    It’s the same situation over the pond. I’m doing the Teach First program at the moment, and they pull rank if you question anything or stand up for yourself. The training has been so inadequate that I am grossly unprepared to be a teacher, and am going to quit.

    I’ve been parachuted into a school which is in trouble with the government and regulatory bodies; a school so reactive that they killed all of our local trees in order to bandage their rock-bottom results with hordes of unrelated, disorganised, and nonsensical paperwork, a drastic last-minute overhaul of the entire behaviour management system (taking away even more rights from the teacher), the entire progress monitoring system (which is now in complete disarray, with the ladder-climbing sharks in my department all fighting to force us to do their initiative) and a micromanaging of my lessons by my department head – right down to the four-page analytical opus I must prepare for each and every lesson, or else.

    The workload is honestly unmanageable, on top of the work I have to do to pass training, and the extra Teach First work.

    Yesterday, I cried until I was catatonic and sick. I think that’s bordering a nervous breakdown. If it’s this bad now, what will it be like when I officially start? I did not sign up for this, and I had no idea this level of madness was part of teaching in a TF school. That’s something that they conveniently hid from us during Institute, while we did our summer practice in high-flying schools with streamlined policies and initiatives.

    My qualified teacher friends, upon hearing the first tenth of what I’ve been dropped into, said they would resign instantly if these demands were even suggested. But here, I must roll over and take it. I start on Monday.

    So I tried to quit last night. I would to serve out the first term, due to my contract and the short notice being massively unfair to the pupils.

    All I got from Teach First was the run-around: spouted ideology, thinly-veiled criticisms of my personal character (a lot of “giving up at the first hurdle”, and “you can’t possibly want…”), and false concern that they “understand where you’re coming from, BUT…”. I told them the exact nature of my nervous breakdown, and they told me that I don’t know what I want yet, because I don’t know what the school will be like during term, and…

    …that I can’t quit.

    I asked about the legal basis for this. I never signed a contract with Teach First. They fumbled for a while, then admitted that there is no law to say I cannot quit, but… [insert more character attacks and how this is disgraceful].

    At this point, I’d been on the phone to Teach First for thirty minutes, saying what I wanted, and only hearing what they wanted. They refused to work with me. I put my foot down and stated that I did not wish to waste any more of their time, and want to resign now. Their response? “Moderate your tone, and remember who you’re speaking to”.

    I taught in two other struggling schools prior to joining Teach First. They are nothing like the place I’m going into. School management styles are key – and I can’t work with this one.

    The program is not for me: it’s putting my mental health in jeopardy, and they just don’t care. I have heard not one word of concern for my wellbeing, but I’ve heard a lot of guilt-tripping about damaging Teach First’s connection with the school. I have been blamed for feeling this way, and for daring to want out.

    Teach First doesn’t care about me. My school doesn’t see me as anything other than a 24/7 cheap cork to fill an expensive teacher’s vacancy. Two years of this?

    So screw it. I’m handing in my notice on Monday.

    • jasherwilliamson says:

      Good for you in getting out now – I commend you for your bravery and for realizing that you were put in horrible positions that you can’t hope to succeed in. I only wish I had gotten out of my Teach For America experience sooner (e.g. a week into being switched into that awful 2nd grade class that I was in no way prepared to teach), instead of pushing myself so far mentally, emotionally and even physically before finally realizing I needed to get out – programs like Teach First and TFA can suck you in and be tremendously unhealthy. Plus, I was basically the perfect candidate that TFA likes to prey on – young, well-meaning, wants to make a difference, hard-worker, had never failed at anything in my life, super-achiever, had little prior professional success under my belt, etc. etc. Easy prey.

      Sounds like things are just as bad across the pond…and yea I guarantee Teach First won’t care about you as a human being just as Teach For America didn’t care about me as a human being. You’re a number to them, so I would say stick it to them and get the hell out!

      • Disillusioned says:

        Have had to stay a little while longer than I planned, but it’s possible that tomorrow could be my last day! The school is keeping me in the dark. Since I notified the school of my intention to resign, my department have been frosty with me… not unlike some other TF participants (unfortunately). Oh well. I’m looking forward to regaining control of my life!

        Like you, I was easy prey for the program. And now for the first time in my life, I’m going to book an appointment with the doctor about depression. I bet that as soon as I’m out of there for good, my mood will improve dramatically. Here’s hoping!

      • jasherwilliamson says:

        Awesome! Get the hell out of there and I almost guarantee you’ll feel a lot better! TFA drives a lot of people to counseling/stress breakdowns as well, so don’t feel bad at all! You’re not alone! Both programs sound horrifically unhealthy for the human mind, body and soul…Good for you for saying enough is enough! 🙂

  5. TFA_quitter says:

    I was a 2010 CM in New Orleans and assigned to teach SPED (all because I checked the “I’m interested” box on the application). I was incredibly excited when I first started TFA. I enjoyed institute and loved living in New Orleans.
    TFA New Orleans has been notorious in recent years for having too many corp members and not enough placements. I fell victim to this and didn’t receive a placement until mid-September. During my unemployment, I went broke and was incredibly frustrated.
    I finally got a job at a middle school just outside of New Orleans and even better – my best friend from the corp was also assigned to the same school. We were beyond excited even though we still had no idea what we would be teaching. We arrived for our first day after school had been in session for about a month. We were ushered into the Asst. Principal’s office who told us that we were to begin teaching today and what subjects we were going to teach. We were a little surprised considering we didn’t have any idea that we would be responsible for teaching that very day. I was assigned to teach all subjects in a self-contained SPED class and my friend was assigned to teach English to several different SPED classes.
    I knew it was going to be trouble as soon as my new students arrived. This was not your typical self-contained classroom. It was a classroom full of students that other teachers didn’t want to teach. The students climbed on the bookshelves, threw desks, punched the walls and each other and cursed and screamed. I had a para-educator in the classroom who spent most of everyday talking on her cellphone. At first, I was optimistic and went home the first day to make management plans and engaging lesson plans. My PD was helpful at first, connecting me to second year CMs who were in similar placements. But, by the end of the first week I was crying in the bathroom between periods and during my entire lunch break. The students were unruly and my administration had no interest in helping me despite my desperate pleas. My students hit me, threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot me and sexually harassed me. All of this went unnoticed by my school administration. My PD had no advice. She came to observe classes and witnessed the craziness. Her only comments were to plan more engaging lessons and build relationships. No luck.
    By November I was miserable and exhausted. I had talked to my PD about getting transferred because I couldn’t handle this placement. No luck there either. I broke down in front of my Asst. Principal and she told me to suck it up. I had tried to come down harder with discipline and management but my privilege of writing students up and holding detentions were taken away for fear of state intervention in this failing school. I didn’t know what to do. I told my PD that I wanted to quit and she guilt tripped me for weeks. I eventually decided that I just couldn’t stay anymore. I applied to graduate programs and was accepted. I resigned from my school and TFA. After I had convinced TFA that there was nothing besides a transfer that would make me stay, they gave up and I haven’t heard from the since. I am happily in graduate school and I recently learned that my school was taken over by the state and is under new management.

    • jasherwilliamson says:

      Sorry to hear you had such a horrific experience with TFA. There is no way in hell any TFA Corps member should ever be placed in a SPED classroom (much less any other classroom, but especially not SPED). That is one of the biggest issues Dr. Barbara Torre-Veltri and other critics of TFA have (SPED and other out-of-field placements that Corps members are completely untrained for).

      Your situation unfortunately sounds really similar to that final 7th grade classroom I got thrown into near the end of my TFA debacle. It was a classroom full of awful, violent, out-of-control kids (many of whom were legitimately special needs) that no other teacher wanted anything to do with. The principal of that DPS school (with TFA’s implicit approval because they did nothing to stop it and just let me get placed in that hell hole instead of just deferring for a year like I should have done) just tossed me in there with no prep time or observation time (I literally went into the DPS office on Tues. after I had stopped teaching that awful 2nd grade class on the prior Friday and found out Tues. night I would be teaching on Wed. – met with principal of school that Tues. night for dinner – she vaguely mentioned the class might “somewhat difficult” – ha! – and then started teaching on Wed. morning – I had no clue what curriculum to use, what the schedule for the class was like, etc.).

      Needless to say, I was already exhausted from my 2nd grade horror show and quickly got eaten alive in this 7th grade class (kids were throwing stuff at me, cussing me out, running around the classroom, threatening me, etc.). The few times a TFA staff person came to visit me, they just got horrified about how out of control the class was, gave me worthless advice like “call the parents” (I had no parent contact list) or “get this class under control” and then left.

      I’m glad you got out when you did and are having a good time in graduate school. I wish I had gotten out of my awful situation sooner, but lessons learned. I’ve been having a great time this last year working with the young adult with autism here and I’m looking into a few other jobs for this next year. I’ll also be applying to graduate school for Fall of 2012, so I’m excited about that (likely for a Master’s in Speech Language Pathology, so I can actually get trained properly to work with one-on-one with special needs kids instead of just getting thrown into the deep end and winging it with them…lol).

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      • Lily Burrews says:

        I’m a current special education corps member and I fully agree with the comment that TFA has no business placing SPED. I came in with special education experience (2 years as a Para in an elementary school) and was horrified with the lack of special education support and training TFA offers. I was thrown into a similar situation as the one discussed above in my current placement (middle school sped) and am one of 3 special educators still standing (7 have quit) at my school- 4 of them were TFA.
        Red flags went up at institute when I wasn’t allowed to view IEPs for students who I was teaching summer school to, even though my students told me that they needed accommodations because of their IEPs. One of my co-workers, who was also a sped placement, had never seen an IEP before: she didn’t know what one was, how to read it, or how to implement it, let alone how to write one, progress monitor for one, or manage a caseload.
        When we came to our current school, we were thrown into a SPED department so far out of compliance the state was auditing us. The folders with students’ confidential IEP information were in disarray, there were no records of progress monitoring, and many of the IEPs were written in a way that the school could in no way support the student (obviously written by people who had a very low understanding of IDEA and SPED case law). All of the new special education teachers were TFA- the entire team from the previous year had either quit or been fired. So, of course, none of the new TFA teachers knew how to read IEPs, create a service delivery schedule, or provide support to our massive caseloads (over 30 kids per teacher with a variety of needs- severe to mild). When we requested help, we were told to “suck it up” by our administration, who had zero knowledge of special education law themselves. We were frequently asked to do things that were highly illegal (holding IEP meetings without parents at the first attempt, changing IEPs without parental permission or notification, “amending” IEPs in areas that require a meeting (LRE, service delivery, placement etc), changing students’ IEP placements severely (from 40%) without a meeting or data, and telling parents we were providing services to students when we weren’t. This is when the first teacher quit. The school promptly blamed her for the lack-of-services being given and scapegoated her to the Department of Education. Her colleagues (myself included) were then forced to absorb her caseload into ours.
        I reached out to TFA, trying to brainstorm solutions to this issue, for the first 3 months of school. Unfortunately, we had no MTLD (PD) support in our school because the person who was supposed to be our MTLD resigned. So, for the first 2 months of school, we had no TFA ally, no support from TFA, and no professional development outside of our monthly PD sessions. When we finally received an MTLD, I found out that he was a former PE teacher who had no special education experience. He was nice and he tried, but he couldn’t provide my team any support in dealing with our administrative issues, our legal issues or with professional development as a special education teacher.
        I am now one of the last teachers standing at my school, mostly due to my love for my students and my knowledge that, if I leave, they will receive little to no services for months at a time, possibly for the rest of the school year. They have lost so much ground already…I can’t abandon them now. I’m also the most experienced SPED team-member (my SPED director is a former coach with no SPED experience or certification) and I know that my fellow remaining TFA members need me to make it through this year.
        I chose to be a special education teacher with TFA. I requested it and was promised professional development, teaching support, and assistance with administration. I have received none of those things. I don’t know how I would be able to function if I didn’t have those 2 years of experience under my belt. To be honest, I am terrified of the damage this year has done to my credibility as an educator and my development. Additionally, the 14 hour days and stress have resulted in me feeling constantly exhausted, emotionally broken, and frustrated with teaching. I don’t want to lose the love I have for teaching special needs students: I aspire to be an Autism specialist and want to get my ABA certification in the next few years. What’s sad is that I’m not an isolated case. I have watched my fellow SPED corps members’ mental health deteriorate over the past year: one had to quit due to severe emotional strain (she began to drink heavily and went to rehab), one was put on suicide watch at a local hospital (and was expected to be back at work on Monday), and I myself began to deal with the re-emergence of anorexia that I had conquered in my teens. I cannot stress enough that all of us are high-achieving, driven individuals who came from rigorous schools and were used to stress (I came from University of Denver, another came from U Cal Berkeley, another came from Harvard, yet another came from Notre Dame). I worked 3 jobs to put myself through school and still maintained a 3.5 GPA. I am not a weak willed person, nor am I afraid of hard work. The fact that people with such proven mental strength were broken by TFA SPED is terrifying to me.
        What is even more disturbing is how TFA washed their hands of my co-workers (and friends) as soon as they had to quit. Their transfers were denied, their requests for help were chalked up to “first year teacher syndrome,” and, when they reached their breaking points, they were lectured about how much their students needed them and how selfish quitting was.
        I believe in the vision of TFA. I came into it feeling empowered and with a desire to do good for the students who need it most. As I finish my first year as a corp member, I wonder if it is only my region that is this insane or if it’s everything? And I find myself questioning whether I want to be the kind of person who can be successful at my school…or in TFA for that matter. Or if, perhaps, it would be better to leave before my love of teaching is destroyed?

      • jasherwilliamson says:

        Yep, sounds about right based on my experience as well. I’m pretty sure such issues are across regions with TFA – much of a TFA corps member’s success simply depends on them getting lucky in terms of a placement at a school with a good support structure already in place. Sadly for many students, TFA’s flaws become even more glaringly obvious when the student population becomes more challenging/specialized – like in the case of SPED. This problem is also a particular concern for Dr. Barbara Veltri and many others who have written about the dark sides of TFA, and is the source of several ongoing (and I’m sure more future) legal challenges to TFA’s legitimacy and legality. Good luck with the rest of your TFA experience!

  6. KnowsWhenToQuit says:

    I’m glad that there is a forum here where people can discuss their negative experiences in reference to TFA. I joined this year’s corps and actually quit before Institute-yes, before Institute. I was assigned to teach high school English. I had purchased materials online to study (the ones they suggested), studied for literally two months straight, devoted time to countless webinars, and actually had to buy a plane ticket to fly out to Texas where I HAD to take the test because it was paper based. There was no option of taking it in my own state or states close to mine. This meant that I had to buy my own plane ticket and pay for two nights in a hotel. The day before Induction, I discovered they switched me to SPED. First off, I never checked the box that I was interested in SPED. More importantly, I think it is completely immoral and unethical to place someone without any correlated training and expertise in this particular area- An area where the kids are the most vulnerable and both need and deserve the help of someone who is specially trained to serve them. Furthermore, who was going to pay for the upcoming test that I was going to have to take? By this time, I had depleted many of my funds. Furthermore, I heard Institute was a nightmare and you hardly had any time to sleep, let alone enjoy for yourself. The SPED test was going to be in early July….ummmm when was I going to have time to study for it?!? To be honest, learning has never come easy to me and I only excelled academically because I literally worked my ass off, and for me, that requires a lot of time. When was I going to get this time? I respectfully voiced my concerns and they told me I needed to be “flexible”. Yeah, it’s easy to tell someone to be flexible when you yourself have not wasted an abundance of time, energy, effort and money into something you were originally promised. I talked to other people who were undergoing the same issue and were very upset. However, many of them did not have a choice to quit because they obtained transitional funding and could not afford to pay it back at the time. Furthermore, it all felt extremely cult-like to me. Almost everyone “drank the kool-aid” and I felt like I was one of a few who wasn’t a complete robot constantly spewing TFA propaganda and agreeing with everything that was being taught. I’m glad I left when I did. I kept seeing red flags and had a feeling in my gut. I still respect their mission; However, the way they run this business and their complete lack of concern for corps’ members concerns and well-being is simply frightening. In the end, I have no one to blame but myself. I didn’t thoroughly do my research before committing. I never looked at these types of blogs. I only saw all the propaganda TFA put out there. Believe me, this was a lesson learned.

  7. Bryan Alleman says:

    TFA corp members are being seduced into being a cheap labor source for corporate style ed reform—–completely typical of corporations, some of which in my opinion, have an unquenchable thirst for cheap labor (or should I say hi profits at the expense of humans?).

    I TRULY APPLAUD this website and its founder—KUDOS.

    SUGGESTION: develop some web-based mechanism for educators and those fighting corporate style reform to connect with former TFA corps members like yourselves to provide public testimony of TFA. As you know, TFA is often packaged as a type of whole ‘reform’ package. I speak from experience after testifying to the Louisiana Legislature this Spring.

  8. TFAHater says:

    I’m glad I stumbled upon this website. I am a current 2012 TFA corps member in Massachusetts and I will say that I don’t know how TFA staff sleeps at night. From their out and out lies about the quality of training that the corps members “receive” to their attempted manipulation of their corps members, it’s a outright shame. As one of the “non-traditional” corps members (I’m 46 and a career changer), I have no qualms about speaking my mind to the staff about my dissatisfaction in their methods and I’m sure they hate me. I’m sticking with TFA simply because I’m getting my masters degree for an unbelievably cheap rate from an excellent university and I’m getting to fast track my career change, but I wouldn’t recommend TFA to anyone for any amount of money. I’m actually pretty proud of the 2012 Massachusetts corps simply because most of them have not drunk the Kool Aid that the staff have been attempting to feed us. I would say a good 75% of the corps know that the Massachusetts staff are incompetent and that the corps is not remotely supported well or prepared to begin teaching in a little more than a week. TFA is a crap organization but I suspected as much going into it and am using TFA for my own purposes. I will say that I didn’t mind Institute (except for living in a dorm and eating dining hall food for 5.5 weeks, both of which blew), but I know how to manage my time which is a result of being in the workforce for as long as I have. I was in bed by 10:30 every night. Most of the kids out of college had a much more difficult time at institute (lots of people staying up until 2 or 3 am). TFA would probably be more successful if they hired more “non-traditional” corps members… you know people who actually have a work history, people who can deal with stress and don’t get freaked out as much, those that have a life outside. But what TFA really has to do is actually hire staff who can teach their corps how to teach. Not all the touchy feely, let’s create a vision on how we’re going to close the achievement gap. The sad reality is, we can’t even remotely close the achievement gap by utilizing teachers who have not be adequately trained. And no TFA staff member should EVER teach Special Education or ESL. My two biggest gripes are (1) the lack of actual training on how to teach and (2) the colossal wasted time. TFA should learn how to streamline their process and not waste the corps members time with crap that has nothing to do with anything remotely important. Oh and the fact that they treat us all like we’re 5 years old. Really pisses me off.

  9. All For One says:

    Although I made it to the phone interview, I was then declined from the program shortly after.
    They did not give any feedback. I thought I did a good job on the phone interview – answering the questions with fairness and honesty. The generic rejection letter states that they will only take candidates that thrive in diversity and will not just fill a room. How insulting – they are implying that all the candidates (since this letter is generic) are close-minded and lazy! This is how they treat good-willed hopefuls that spend time and capital in submitting all these forms, and taking all the other steps necessary – unbelievable! They are the lazy ones with nice cush jobs sitting in an office all day. And lets talk about “diversity” – there is none in this program. They are looking for robo-cog teachers that don’t have freewill and can be brainwashed into the program’s fodder. I feel bad for both the teachers and the students that are the victims of this program’s corporate sponsored propaganda. They do not put children first, or their teachers for that matter. Big business society. March on, march on robo-cogs.

  10. Mrs. Wright says:

    As a certificated teacher for many years now, I had long suspected that TFA was nothing more than a front for putting non-union, cheap “labor” in the classroom: classrooms for which you were ill-prepared to be successful in. I advised my own child to steer clear, that TFA is a program that is like leading the lambs to slaughter. You are placed in the lowest SES areas, those schools with the toughest populations to teach, and without the proper training and support/resources, failure is a guarantee. Thank you for confirming my suspicions. I am so sorry that any of you have had to suffer through the mental and physical anguish of having your passion exploited. Please keep teaching others in this way, by educating with the truth.

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