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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Teacher doesn't understand why DCPS values them so little!

From a reader:

This situation is absurd. It is odd that we have, supposedly, smart people (the TFA corps members themselves) fooled into believing this is actually good for children. They arrive with an idealistic shine in their eyes; the smart ones quickly lose the shine and reach out to teachers with actual experience and pedagogy, and the naive ones eventually also lose the shine, yet they still plug away thinking that they will change the world in 2 years or less. In no other profession would the idea of using novices in the most difficult situations be acceptable; however, those with clout ($) proceed to demonize professional teachers. If Vitti is so focused on using TFA, why not recruit TFA from Jacksonville and the surrounding areas and also require a 5 year commitment? I honestly think 1/2 of teachers quit before year 5 because it takes 5 or more years to become a confident, pedagogically-driven, knowledgeable, competent, comfortable, classroom manager of students. By year 3 or 4, I definitely felt way more apt than years 1 or 2. Those first 2 years were about getting through the day with sanity.

To spend this massive amount of money with little return is useless to the students and disheartening to teachers who want to invest in the Jacksonville community. Beyond that, guess who will continually get the "privilege" to mentor all of these new TFA teachers (a requirement for all new teachers is to have a mentor)? Oh, that's right, an experienced teacher gets to mentor all of these new TFAers, observing them in the classroom, doing pre-observations, committing time to do post-observations, etc., and does not get paid for it. It will seriously get to the point where so few mentors will exist because you have to have 3 years of successful teaching to be a mentor teacher! What is my motivation to mentor when these teachers are taking jobs from other professional teachers? Just this afternoon, I was talking to a TFA corps member when he made the assertion that there are just so many openings and no one wants those jobs that TFA is filling. Well, that is simply not true. I know for a fact that we have to place these TFAers because of the contract and that many people apply for the openings in the Title One schools. Unfortunately, we have to move out the already hired teacher for a TFA corps member. Imagine replacing a doctor with a 5-week experienced intern. ..

With an M.A. and 8 years in DCPS, my starting salary is around $40,000, only $3000 or so higher than these first year TFA teachers. I had to pay off my graduate student loans, as nobody reimbursed me for those courses. I am committed to Jacksonville and its people, as are many of the teachers working full-time for years in Duval county with no extra bonuses in sight. How about investing in us for a change?

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