Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

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JR00576
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Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby JR00576 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:55 pm

Hey All. I am currently ranked in the top 5% of my class at a top 30 law school and have a really great GPA. The only problem is that I recently had a massive change of heart about what I want to do with the next few years of my life and recently decided to apply to Teach For America. If I am admitted to TFA, I would like to suspend my legal education at the end of my 1L year and join the corps. Two years later, after finishing TFA, I would then like to transfer to another law school.

My question is, is it possible to transfer law schools after taking a 2 year hiatus? Also, what do you guys think of this? I really want to do something like TFA while I'm young and able to commit to such a program. I just want to make sure I am also in a good position to transfer after the program, and would appreciate any advice or information you all can provide. Thanks!

EzraStiles
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby EzraStiles » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:09 pm

You can certainly do this, but I would question the efficacy of a program that assumes itself morally upright while sending recent college graduates to take 2 years helping and then leaving a group of kids who, above all, need stability in their lives. If you're just going for two years, than I question how committed you really are to helping these kids, especially when such programs as the Peace Corps are just as willing to take you and are, in fact, much more needing of dedicated people.

But hey, you'll get a couple years off, put some money in your pocket, and add something at least interesting to your resume that will help come employment time. Whatever you choose to do, it seems you've set yourself up to be very successful and I wish you luck.

(Sorry for the diatribe OP, I'm just very skeptical of the way TFA carries out what I consider a wonderful mission)

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radical4peace
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby radical4peace » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:23 pm

There are two issues here. First, whether it makes sense to put law school on hold and go do TFA. Second, the first reply raised the issue of whether TFA is ever a good idea. As a TFA alum, I will give my two cents on both. :)

I don't think it makes sense to put law school on hold and go do TFA. I think this would raise a huge red flag for the organization (somewhat justifiably) because it makes you seem like a person who isn't sure of what they want. I would sit back and think about whether you really want to leave law school. If you are truly having a change of heart and want to go teach, there are other ways to do this besides Teach for America. But I might be wrong that this would be a red flag for them, and you might want to email admissions and get their take on your situation. If you are really feeling a call to teach right now, then you should follow that -- TFA or not.

As to the first reply's criticisms of TFA, we've heard them all before. Many teachers (and I don't have the exact stats right now) leave low-income schools after even just one year of teaching. By committing to two years in low-income schools, TFA corps distinguish themselves from many other first-year teachers who drop out without help or support. Also, many corps members stay on after two years for a third year and sometimes even make teaching their career. Dedicated teachers leaving after two years is not ideal for students, but I really don't think that my departure after two years added to the "instability" in my students' lives. I had them for one year and then they went on to other teachers the next year. Studies show that even just one year with an excellent teacher gives kids a fighting chance. Peace Corps needs dedicated people more? The same criticisms could be applied to the Peace Corps. I don't know nearly as much about Peace Corps, but I'm of the opinion that getting passionate, hardworking people out in the trenches is a great thing -- even if it's only for a few years. OP/Ezra/anyone else -- feel free to PM cuz I love to talk TFA. :)

JR00576
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby JR00576 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:30 pm

Hey all. This is all great stuff, but what I really want to know is CAN I take a two year hiatus after my 1L year and apply to transfer. Does anybody have information on this? I can't find it in any other post! Thanks for your time!

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radical4peace
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby radical4peace » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:33 pm

Yeah, I think you would need to ask some law school admissions people about that. Anything you get in terms of that question is just speculation on this board. I think it could be difficult so my advice as random internet person is to think really hard about whether you really want to take off from law school right now and how determined you are to try to transfer after a hiatus.

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englawyer
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby englawyer » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:38 pm

the 2-year thing at TFA makes sense to me. Teachers often become jaded and disillusioned over time. We all had the high school teachers who were obviously just in it for the paycheck and summer vacations...not the most inspiring people.

better to get the next group of ambitious/energetic young folk in the classroom if you ask me.

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rowlf
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby rowlf » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:35 pm

Ask adcomms at schools you want to transfer to.

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aIvin adams
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby aIvin adams » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:44 pm

i apologize in advance for not addressing the question in the OP but..


reconsider doing TFA if you are sure you are only doing it for two years. i have a little bit of experience in education and education research and i am under the impression that if you are not committed to teaching at least 5 years, you may not be doing any high-risk students any favors. you would have to be a very, very good teacher to be a high-performing teacher in yer first 2 years. then again you might be very, very good at it. so just reconsider (i mean consider again, not change yer mind)

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Notor
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby Notor » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:47 pm

Glad to see Teach For America being used with the best of intentions in mind... stupid program that siphons off money that could be spent to get real teachers in the classroom for life. I'm sorry, but disadvantaged children should not be a resume booster.

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radical4peace
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby radical4peace » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:44 pm

People love to hate on TFA, few few articulate very good reasoning for their answers. Most of the research for TFA shows that they outperform other first and second year teachers in low-income schools. Of course there is a larger goal of getting more highly qualified teachers into the classroom for 20+ years, but it's not an either/or proposition. TFA alumni are already making huge changes in education (controversial case in point: Michelle Rhee) and working together with other groups to close the achievement gap. It's not THE solution, but that doesn't mean it's not one part of a much larger movement to reform education.

Stupid program that siphons off money that could be spent to get real teachers in the classroom? Notor -- I welcome your PM so we could talk about this.

And OP -- like I said, TFA is a great program but I don't think it would work very well in a time off/transfer type situation.

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aIvin adams
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby aIvin adams » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:05 am

radical4peace wrote:People love to hate on TFA, few few articulate very good reasoning for their answers.


why do you ignore those few. there is plenty of reason to be skeptical about devoting two yrs of yer life to TFA (or Teaching Fellows, or whatever). its not fool-proof, like the peace corps

google it?

eidt- michelle rhee is an exception, not an example. most people who do TFA dont dedicate their lives to education and the OP already mentioned that they plan on being a traditional TFA applicant (2 yrs only). i cant badmouth rhee bc she is awesome and i own a kevin johnson jersey

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radical4peace
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby radical4peace » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:42 am

aIvin adams wrote:
radical4peace wrote:People love to hate on TFA, few few articulate very good reasoning for their answers.


why do you ignore those few. there is plenty of reason to be skeptical about devoting two yrs of yer life to TFA (or Teaching Fellows, or whatever). its not fool-proof, like the peace corps

google it?

eidt- michelle rhee is an exception, not an example. most people who do TFA dont dedicate their lives to education and the OP already mentioned that they plan on being a traditional TFA applicant (2 yrs only). i cant badmouth rhee bc she is awesome and i own a kevin johnson jersey


Again, no specifics. "It's less than the total and perfect solution" is not an adequate criticism of a young program that is already changing education for the better. And nothing is fool-proof. The Peace Corps is subject to the same criticisms as TFA. While I don't have a background with the Peace Corps, I am guessing that it's just as unfounded. Do you change the world when you put in a well for a village and then leave after two years? No. Are you a part of a larger movement for change with a personal experience that sticks with you for the rest of your life? Yes. Do even small changes matter in underprivileged communities? Yes. Same with TFA.

Google it? :roll:

Rhee is just one of the bigger names you've heard of. Most people who do TFA don't dedicate their lives to education? Try 60% stay in the education sector.

Sorry for cluttering your thread, OP. :) You wanna teach, go for it. Research different programs. Do more than "google" TFA. Shadow corps members. Visit schools. I still think it could be hard to take time off from school to do this, but it's not impossible.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Notor wrote:Glad to see Teach For America being used with the best of intentions in mind... stupid program that siphons off money that could be spent to get real teachers in the classroom for life. I'm sorry, but disadvantaged children should not be a resume booster.


What else are they good for?

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calgal17
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby calgal17 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:12 am

To OP: Did you go to law school straight out of undergrad?

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ccs224
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby ccs224 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:01 am

radical4peace wrote:As to the first reply's criticisms of TFA, we've heard them all before. Many teachers (and I don't have the exact stats right now) leave low-income schools after even just one year of teaching. By committing to two years in low-income schools, TFA corps distinguish themselves from many other first-year teachers who drop out without help or support. Also, many corps members stay on after two years for a third year and sometimes even make teaching their career. Dedicated teachers leaving after two years is not ideal for students, but I really don't think that my departure after two years added to the "instability" in my students' lives. I had them for one year and then they went on to other teachers the next year. Studies show that even just one year with an excellent teacher gives kids a fighting chance. Peace Corps needs dedicated people more? The same criticisms could be applied to the Peace Corps. I don't know nearly as much about Peace Corps, but I'm of the opinion that getting passionate, hardworking people out in the trenches is a great thing -- even if it's only for a few years. OP/Ezra/anyone else -- feel free to PM cuz I love to talk TFA. :)


This is kind of off-topic, as I'm only going to focus on TFA here, but I really don't agree with this argument. Sorry. As a former teacher who entered from a TFA-style program, I have to say that TFA does not offer a solution to our educational problems. If you want to help kids, then go for it, but TFA may not be the best route. TFA's greatest value is that it gets smarter people into classrooms, which is desperately needed (teachers generally enter the profession with grades and standardized test scores lower than farmers, and one would hope it takes more brains to raise kids than corn), but the general expectation is that TFA participants will leave after two years and this is almost entirely true. It's a stop-gap measure, meant to fill positions in hard to fill schools. Most of the studies that have been done on teacher effectiveness show that teachers become most effective after four to six years of experience. In schools with a high population of beginning or transitory teachers, which are largely minority and high poverty schools, students are exposed to a much larger amount of inexperienced, largely ineffective (even if intelligent and committed) teachers, which does little to help their performance. The schools and programs that TFA students are placed in also often lack the resources to effectively support their teachers, and many do not want to invest too much effort in educators they do not expect to stay for the long wrong. So, if the OP really wants to do some good in the world, he should spend some time considering if he would actually be qualified to work with high needs students, should test it out a bit, and should explore alternative ways to make a difference where his effectiveness might not be so commitment and experience dependent.

Leeroy Jenkins
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby Leeroy Jenkins » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:33 am

radical4peace wrote:There are two issues here. First, whether it makes sense to put law school on hold and go do TFA. Second, the first reply raised the issue of whether TFA is ever a good idea. As a TFA alum, I will give my two cents on both. :)

I don't think it makes sense to put law school on hold and go do TFA. I think this would raise a huge red flag for the organization (somewhat justifiably) because it makes you seem like a person who isn't sure of what they want. I would sit back and think about whether you really want to leave law school. If you are truly having a change of heart and want to go teach, there are other ways to do this besides Teach for America. But I might be wrong that this would be a red flag for them, and you might want to email admissions and get their take on your situation. If you are really feeling a call to teach right now, then you should follow that -- TFA or not.

As to the first reply's criticisms of TFA, we've heard them all before. Many teachers (and I don't have the exact stats right now) leave low-income schools after even just one year of teaching. By committing to two years in low-income schools, TFA corps distinguish themselves from many other first-year teachers who drop out without help or support. Also, many corps members stay on after two years for a third year and sometimes even make teaching their career. Dedicated teachers leaving after two years is not ideal for students, but I really don't think that my departure after two years added to the "instability" in my students' lives. I had them for one year and then they went on to other teachers the next year. Studies show that even just one year with an excellent teacher gives kids a fighting chance. Peace Corps needs dedicated people more? The same criticisms could be applied to the Peace Corps. I don't know nearly as much about Peace Corps, but I'm of the opinion that getting passionate, hardworking people out in the trenches is a great thing -- even if it's only for a few years. OP/Ezra/anyone else -- feel free to PM cuz I love to talk TFA. :)

I want to know 1) what the fuck possessed you to write a post like a law school exam, and 2) why nobody else has called you out on it.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:52 am

Aside from the fact that this is a fucking dumb idea... You should review the aba rules on how long you can take off after your first year and still be eligible to return to LS and transfer in your credits... There is a definite time restriction...

ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools Sections 304(c) provides in relevant part:

"(c) A law school shall require that the course of study for the J.D. degree be completed no earlier than 24 months and no later than 84 months after a student has commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit."


So I'd be careful and make sure you don't run off to save the world for too long, otherwise you might not be able to use your credits.

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im_blue
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby im_blue » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:47 am

reasonable_man wrote:Aside from the fact that this is a fucking dumb idea... You should review the aba rules on how long you can take off after your first year and still be eligible to return to LS and transfer in your credits... There is a definite time restriction...

ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools Sections 304(c) provides in relevant part:

"(c) A law school shall require that the course of study for the J.D. degree be completed no earlier than 24 months and no later than 84 months after a student has commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit."


So I'd be careful and make sure you don't run off to save the world for too long, otherwise you might not be able to use your credits.


TFA is only 2 years, so it would take 5 years from the time he starts law school.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:33 am

im_blue wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:Aside from the fact that this is a fucking dumb idea... You should review the aba rules on how long you can take off after your first year and still be eligible to return to LS and transfer in your credits... There is a definite time restriction...

ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools Sections 304(c) provides in relevant part:

"(c) A law school shall require that the course of study for the J.D. degree be completed no earlier than 24 months and no later than 84 months after a student has commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit."


So I'd be careful and make sure you don't run off to save the world for too long, otherwise you might not be able to use your credits.


TFA is only 2 years, so it would take 5 years from the time he starts law school.


Yes. I can add.. However, people get sick, unexpected things arise in familes, etc. Sometimes these things take time to sort out. Tack that onto 2-years for teach for America, (and a needed back-packing trip through Europe or some other sissy-soul-searching activity and who knows). My point is that there are other considerations Op must look into.

Another issue.. As a practicing attorney who sometimes interviews new candidates, looking at this on his resume, my first reaction would be; 'what the fuck... auto-ding.'

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aIvin adams
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby aIvin adams » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:09 pm

radical4peace wrote:Again, no specifics.

what specifics are you offering? this is intellectually dishonest bc we both know that we can link to peer-reviewed studies that support our preconceived ideas. this isnt like global warming, which everyone knows isnt real.
And nothing is fool-proof. The Peace Corps is subject to the same criticisms as TFA. While I don't have a background with the Peace Corps, I am guessing that it's just as unfounded.

no, the peace corps has its own unique set of criticisms that dont have anything to do with TFA at all.
Do you change the world when you put in a well for a village and then leave after two years? No. Are you a part of a larger movement for change with a personal experience that sticks with you for the rest of your life? Yes. Do even small changes matter in underprivileged communities? Yes.

1) the meaningful criticism of the peace corps has nothing to do with the fact that putting in a well doesnt change the world. 2) i agree that joining the peace corps is great for the person that joins the peace corps. 3) small changes matter in underprivileged communities. just as small changes for the better should be celebrated, small changes for the worse can be devastating.

Google it? :roll:

thats slang for research it. yahhh... a dumb idea..

Rhee is just one of the bigger names you've heard of. Most people who do TFA don't dedicate their lives to education? Try 60% stay in the education sector.


specifics! that's great. try 99% don't stay in the education sector. i can get specific too.

Sorry for cluttering your thread, OP. :) You wanna teach, go for it. Research different programs. Do more than "google" TFA. Shadow corps members. Visit schools. I still think it could be hard to take time off from school to do this, but it's not impossible.

[/quote]
do you work for microsoft? fine do research w/out google. researching on google doesnt preclude shadowing TFAers.


why are we holding two differnet conversations? in one yer demeanor is different than in the other.

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ccs224
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby ccs224 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:26 pm

aIvin adams wrote:
radical4peace wrote:Do you change the world when you put in a well for a village and then leave after two years? No. Are you a part of a larger movement for change with a personal experience that sticks with you for the rest of your life? Yes. Do even small changes matter in underprivileged communities? Yes.
1) the meaningful criticism of the peace corps has nothing to do with the fact that putting in a well doesnt change the world. 2) i agree that joining the peace corps is great for the person that joins the peace corps. 3) small changes matter in underprivileged communities. just as small changes for the better should be celebrated, small changes for the worse can be devastating.


I think the main point here should be that putting in a well does not require the same sort of experience or expertise that teaching children does, and that's the main difference between the two programs. I've never looked closely at the Peace Corps, but I'm assuming that the work they have you do does not generally require a lot of specialized skills; teaching does. I would not want my children taught by someone who is bright and accomplished but without any experience in teaching or much commitment to the profession (there are, of course, worse alternatives than this, which is why some parents and schools do prefer TFA members). I would certainly allow that same person to build a well for me, granted that she had the materials and instructions to do it well.

Again, if you're looking for two years of making a difference, teaching isn't the best place to start. There are plenty of other programs OP should consider - he could WOOF it for two years, volunteer to eradicate invasive species, help people looking for asylum, jump on one of those crazy Sea Shepherd boats, etc.

Also, if the OP isn't just experiencing a quarter life crisis and wanting out of law school and really wants to do some good in the world, he should consider finishing his JD, then working in the public sector for at least a few years, which will not only do some good, but possibly also qualify him for LRAP, if his school offers it.

thisguy456
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby thisguy456 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:35 pm

As most people have mentioned, Peace Corps is different from TFA, so it's not useful to bring up in this case. Peace Corps is not solely about the work/development. It's a unique form a development that has useful implications when considered in the larger scheme of development (microdevelopment to complement macrodevelopment). But again, the goal is not solely development or the work.

And secondly, I could be wrong, but are TFA teachers taking jobs away from other teachers? I wouldn't think so. The argument of "not wanting my kids to be taught by an inexperienced TFA teacher" misses the point. Your kids wouldn't have a teacher, or would be in a class of 40, if it weren't for the TFA teacher.

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totalidiot
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby totalidiot » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:50 pm

Definitely sleep on this one--doesn't seem like a good idea.

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ccs224
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby ccs224 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:55 pm

thisguy456 wrote: And secondly, I could be wrong, but are TFA teachers taking jobs away from other teachers? I wouldn't think so. The argument of "not wanting my kids to be taught by an inexperienced TFA teacher" misses the point. Your kids wouldn't have a teacher, or would be in a class of 40, if it weren't for the TFA teacher.


That's not really true. No, TFA and programs like the Teaching Fellows don't take away jobs from traditional teachers. There's a ton of teacher turnover, just as there is high employee turnover in most professions, so TFA and TF are simply adding a new population of teachers to the stream. As a former fellow, I can attest that at least in NYC, there is no shortage of teachers (there's actually a semi-hiring freeze now, as there is an excess of teachers), and fellows are not put in classes that would otherwise be unstaffed. I'm going to assume that this is the case generally, expect perhaps in very rural districts. The choice isn't strictly between a fellow or no teacher, nor is it usually between a fellow or a great teacher. Fellows are put into schools that are staffable but where entering teachers with their backgrounds would not usually chose to work without the incentives of the program. The idea behind these programs is that getting incoming teachers with better backgrounds will improve school quality - and it can, if these teachers stay long enough to become experienced and effective in the profession. If they don't, and most TFA'ers don't, then they are not contributing to the success of their students or the school as much as more experienced teachers would. (There's also the argument that some administrators prefer beginning and more transitory teachers as their pay is much less than life-long teachers and thus frees up a larger percentage of the school budget - though I'm not sure how valid this argument is). My point, as someone who has done it, is not that these programs are awful, but that if you are looking to dedicate just a few years to making a difference, teaching is not the way to go.

That said, it should also be noted that TFA has an acceptance rate of about 15%, while the Fellows just dropped below 10% - I'm not sure if the OP would be guaranteed access to either program, particularly the Fellows, which puts a lot more emphasis on creating permanent teachers.

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aIvin adams
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Re: Entering Teach For America after 1L year, then transferring

Postby aIvin adams » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:52 pm

nice post. thats what i told radical4peace in our PMs. im not against TFA.

ccs224 wrote:if you are looking to dedicate just a few years to making a difference, teaching is not the way to go


yah




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