An educational gain or an educational failure? Teach for America is an organization that places newly graduated college students into underprivileged and failing schools.
Though this sounds like a great opportunity and a solution to the educational problem at hand, there are a lot of factors that prove otherwise. When accepted into this program, these new teachers receive only a small amount of training few a few weeks.
These so-called Teachers are then placed into school districts where they have no experience or knowledge. They are placed in areas that are struggling and in some cases rough. They have the best intentions and think they can control their students and believe that they can command these kids right away and change everything.
After I did some digging, reading, and watching past interviews of Teach for America’s staff, I felt that the training left a lot to be desired. The students showed no respect for their new professors and proceeded to not follow instructions and fight the commands given.
At first the teachers brush it off and proceed with the lesson plan but after a while the constant fighting with the students takes its toll on the minds and the thoughts of the Teach for America educators.
The teachers break down and become lost. This is leading to the lack of proper preparation for higher levels of education that these students may or may not achieve.
This program is basically a glorified temp agency that throws newly developed educators into under developed school districts. Inexperienced is the best word that comes to mind when thinking of the professors that are being distributed.
Teach for America is only a temporary solution for an ongoing problem for desperate schools, which needs dedicated and experienced educators. Having experienced teachers will help their mission of providing education to underprivileged communities.
Teach for America is becoming a revolving door of graduates and also a revolving door of broken promises and let downs amongst communities. The graduates that apply for Teach for America are expected to sign up for at least two years, but 80% of the Teach for America teachers pursue other careers in different fields after their first year.
This is due to their ideas of what they could do, not living up to their expectations because of a lack of proper training. This is leading to the abandonment of students everywhere Teach for America has educators.
Having someone of authority abandon their position after a year has an impact on students, showing them that when things do not always go according to plan that just giving up is ok. This is not right and should not be the example given by Teach for America staff. Giving up and not teaching the promised years is just irresponsible.
Teach for America should recruit graduates who truly want to dedicate their time and energy to making a difference in helping these schools, and most importantly these students.
A way that could help save Teach for America is to start requiring and enforcing long-term commitments in addition to making sure these teachers are correctly certified.
These new graduates treat this program as a resume builder and it should not be as such. Most of these applicants only use Teach for America for this reason in order to make themselves appear more efficient and desirable for other companies.
Most applicant do not even peruse a career in education after their time spent with Teach for America and their mission.