TFA...wait a sec.....

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prezidentv8
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TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:14 am

I kind of knew what TFA was previously...I just looked it up for a little more info, and I'm unsure as to why it's seen as such a great thing by adcomms (it seems like it on these boards anyway)? I mean it's nice, don't get me wrong, but why does it seem like it's singled out?

TammyG
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby TammyG » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:17 am

Whelp...it's highly selective - around a 20% acceptance rate. It also shows selflessness and a commitment to something larger than oneself. In addition, being a teacher, especially in low-income areas is extremely difficult and it takes a lot of motivation, determination and passion to succeed. I assume these are all plusses for LS adcomms.

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:21 am

Right, I get that...but why does it seem like it's singled out...there are a lot of difficult selfless things one could do, you know?

TammyG
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby TammyG » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:24 am

People also mention the Peace Corps and Americorps and such. I think TFA is just grouped with other things that are considered great softs.

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:37 am

Peace Corps I can see getting singled out. But I just don't see anything extraordinary about TFA or Americorps...they seem like regular softs to me...I mean it's teaching...which is good, like I said...but not exactly amazing. The Americorps people where I'm at go to grammar schools and help kids with homework...a nice thing, to be sure, but its also for a stipend and not that hard. I don't know, these things seem like they magically get tossed in with war vets, and easily beat things like elite athletics and community leadership positions (ie. small/local nonprofits), which take just as much time and dedication.


Also, this isn't ragging on anyone, I was just noticing a lot of specific attention given to TFA and was wondering why.

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bcb1986
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby bcb1986 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:52 am

prezidentv8 wrote:Peace Corps I can see getting singled out. But I just don't see anything extraordinary about TFA or Americorps...they seem like regular softs to me...I mean it's teaching...which is good, like I said...but not exactly amazing. The Americorps people where I'm at go to grammar schools and help kids with homework...a nice thing, to be sure, but its also for a stipend and not that hard. I don't know, these things seem like they magically get tossed in with war vets, and easily beat things like elite athletics and community leadership positions (ie. small/local nonprofits), which take just as much time and dedication.


Also, this isn't ragging on anyone, I was just noticing a lot of specific attention given to TFA and was wondering why.

Make a friend that does TFA, and then you will understand. It's an absolutely unbelievable program, and I have the utmost respect for anyone willing to give two years (and it's a 24/7 job) of their young lives to some of the nation's poorest, struggling kids.
These people have (1) proven leadership ability, and (2) they are passionate about their endeavors. These are two traits that are difficult to bring to life in a law school application, but they are outstanding traits for lawyers.

And, no it's not "just" teaching. It's the most rigorous training program you can imagine, and it throws college grads with zero experience into the nation's worst schools. The people they select are turning these schools around - something the experts haven't been able to do.

I have 4 very close friends in the program. 99% of the people I know don't have the heart, much less the ability and drive, for the program. Every TFA member deserves to stand out among the pool of law school applicants. Period.

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:18 am

bcb1986 wrote:It's the most rigorous training program you can imagine

^This part, I doubt. I can imagine quite well, so let's not over-glorify too much.

I do agree that the work they are doing is pretty great, though, and it's not something I would want to do, so I understand that its hard, shitty work. But "great soft?" The stuff on here that TFA gets thrown in with, with the term "great soft," is staggering. And let's not forget that they get paid too.

But on the other hand, I tend to be one of your less-impressable people, and oddly enough, one of the few who thinks softs matter. I think TFA is a good soft, above and beyond the normal college crap, but I don't think it's a knock your socks off thing...and that's how people on here seem to view it.iew it.

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby SDGirl » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:20 am

prezidentv8 wrote:Peace Corps I can see getting singled out. But I just don't see anything extraordinary about TFA or Americorps...they seem like regular softs to me...I mean it's teaching...which is good, like I said...but not exactly amazing. The Americorps people where I'm at go to grammar schools and help kids with homework...a nice thing, to be sure, but its also for a stipend and not that hard. I don't know, these things seem like they magically get tossed in with war vets, and easily beat things like elite athletics and community leadership positions (ie. small/local nonprofits), which take just as much time and dedication.


Also, this isn't ragging on anyone, I was just noticing a lot of specific attention given to TFA and was wondering why.


My boyfriend and a few of my friends are doing TFA, and they all say it's the hardest thing they've ever had to do. It takes a lot of dedication to teach 30 kids after only being trained for 1 month (plus, you get your masters degree at the same time, so you're going to school as well... ) Also, you have to take into consideration that these aren't people who are just helping kids with their homework after school, they're full time teachers. I think it's a big responsibility trying to get these kids to learn everything they need to learn before they move up a grade. Actually, it makes me feel bad for not ever realizing how much work my school teachers had to do :roll:

My bf pretty much spends every week night and at least one day during the weekend planning/grading... so it's a lot of work. A lot of his students and their families have economic/social problems as well, so it's not like you're going into a middle class neighborhood and teaching kids who are reading at grade level or have private tutoring after school, for example. My boyfriend teaches 5th grade, and some of his students are reading at 2nd/3rd grade level, so he needs to get them caught up before they move onto 6th grade! That's a pretty big task, I think, and that's probably why the program is given so much attention. I think it also says a lot about the type of person you are to put your life on hold for 2 years so you can do something good for your community. It's pretty much the same as the Peace Corps in that regard...

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:26 am

Okay let me rephrase...

I know what it is, tell me why it's special. I've been reading up and down their site...and all I can think is, "okay, you're a teacher, probably at a place that's underprivileged."

I get that it's hard work.
I get that it's positive work.

I don't get why it's more special than anything else that has those qualities.

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treple
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby treple » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:31 am

People are trying to explain why its considered special. I'm not sure why you're not reading the posts. =/

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby Renzo » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:32 am

prezidentv8 wrote:Okay let me rephrase...

I know what it is, tell me why it's special. I've been reading up and down their site...and all I can think is, "okay, you're a teacher, probably at a place that's underprivileged."

I get that it's hard work.
I get that it's positive work.

I don't get why it's more special than anything else that has those qualities.

People have repeatedly explained why it is so special and you're not getting it, so lets try this: what is something else you think has similar qualities, so that we might compare?

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby SDGirl » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:35 am

Because not that many people are willing to go work for a minimal salary (and maybe even IOU's in California's case, with the budget crisis and all :shock: ) for 2 years so they can help young, underprivileged children learn. I think putting yourself through something that difficult so you can give back to your community pretty much speaks for itself, and I don't think you can even begin to compare it with regular softs like volunteering somewhere a few hours a week or something...

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worldtraveler
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:40 am

Not to dismiss the hard work that TFA members do...but the stuff some other posters described really just described teachers in general. All teachers (well, unless they're incredibly lazy) spend extra time grading, planning and just doing stuff for their job outside of working hours.
I think TFA is pretty impressive, but I also don't think it's any more amazing than people who teach in lower income areas in general. If someone is teaching in an inner city, it doesn't matter whether they are in TFA or not: the job is damn hard and stressful.

I think the OP is asking why TFA gets extra benefits and other teachers don't? I'm pretty sure he grasps what TFA is.

I don't really see a difference in the selflessness displayed by TFA members and any other person that chooses to teach in the same circumstances.

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:41 am

I am. It just doesn't seem like anything over the top. It seems nice.

I hear, in my own paraphrasing, "it's hard," "people are passionate about it," "it's so much more than teaching," "TFA folks are unselfish," and "they help people."

More relevant to my question, why does that make it a "great" soft? Is it the fact that its mission is related to education and the underprivileged, maybe? That's my guess...but you can't throw out unspecific positive lines, and expect me to be like, "oh, yeah, it's a hard thing to do - of course! Epiphany!!"

There are thousands of people who do this stuff every day...called teachers...and those folks work in crappy schools too. Frankly, I think it's in there with any sort of regular volunteering, because TFA folks get paid. Hence the question...why is it any different?

<edit - deleted something>
Last edited by prezidentv8 on Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:42 am

Worldtraveler gets what I'm asking. Thank God!

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby Renzo » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:04 am

I think what you may be underestimating is just how awful teaching at a low-income inner city school can be. Very few sane people would undertake it, and that includes teachers (hence the need for TFA). I agree that there's not much real difference between being a teacher in these schools inside or outside TFA, but I think that if those non-TFA teachers started queuing up for law school, they would get the same "bump." The reason you hear about TFA and not the "run-down urban teacher bump" is because TFA attracts highly credentialed, educated, and motivated people, who are more likely to end up as law school candidates.

Edit: I would add that I have done some terribly difficult things in my life, and I would never take a job as an inner-city teacher.

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prezidentv8
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:12 am

Just to be sure, me either.

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby fanfavourite » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:29 am

As a TFA corps member I had to move to a rural area, where the median income is only 17k/year, and the adults are barely literate. about 1/3 of our kids are considered 'on grade level' in math and reading, but more importantly, many of my 8th graders are below a 3rd grade level in these. many kids are severe behavior problems, who are on a completely, let me stress COMPLETELY different plane than many people in higher-income areas are used to, i.e. they don't know how to sit in a seat, keep hands to themselves, etc. You come into this environment, almost always looking, speaking, and otherwise doing things differently, and have to motivate these kids to work, keeping in mind that many of them, who have never in their lives been successful in school, have absolutely no reason to. so you work, alone, for 60-80 hours a week. you get to school at 6 or 7 am, and stay till 7. you tutor them. you call their parents. you go to their sports events. you start after school clubs.

i had to teach science, which i always sucked at, and did not study in college. i spent 10 hours a week last year just learning the material i had to teach. my kids beat the state average on the end of grade science test, and nearly doubled the average in the rest of the school. and i'm not even that good by TFA standards.

That is my attempt at explaining why TFA is put on that pedestal. we jump right in to the the most intimidating, befuddling, and most severe problem in our country, and unlike ALMOST anyone else, we actually do something to fix it, and doing so is ridiculously difficult and, well, sort of sucks. no offense taken at your legit question, OP, just trying to answer it!

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby express01 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:32 am

I think TFA also has its own "signaling" effect.

Their interview/screening process is so rigorous. I have friends with really good grades/compassionate heart/great internships who got turned down on the first level. From my own anecdotal experience, TFA program ends up selecting one of the most selfless, altruistic, intellectual and ambitious friends.

Those qualities are very valuable for the law school, yet are not easily identifiable. so Why not pick a tfa person, when the work has already been done for you?

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:38 am

prezidentv8 wrote:I kind of knew what TFA was previously...I just looked it up for a little more info, and I'm unsure as to why it's seen as such a great thing by adcomms (it seems like it on these boards anyway)? I mean it's nice, don't get me wrong, but why does it seem like it's singled out?


It is way more selfless than most other things. The personal sacrifice is huge. Any volunteer work sacrifices income and time. TFA additionally puts your self-esteem and at times your safety on the line. In the best of schools there will always be a few kids who aren't there to learn and just want to make the experience unpleasant for everyone else. In TFA schools, there are just way more of those kids and it makes every day a struggle. SOme of my friends that did TFA cried on a regular basis. Those kids can be cruel. and violent. Some of these kids have parole officers.

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worldtraveler
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:57 am

In other words...TFA members teach in bad conditions. Much like teachers that teach in tough conditions.

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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby fanfavourite » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:04 am

worldtraveler wrote:In other words...TFA members teach in bad conditions. Much like teachers that teach in tough conditions.


yes.

but don't write 'tough conditions' dismissively. i can't stress enough how difficult it is to face this population of students and these challenges every day. it is really tough. and unlike most teachers that teach in tough conditions, we usually are quite successful with our kids. surviving this job, and succeeding in this job are two different things.

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Kohinoor
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:13 am

worldtraveler wrote:In other words...TFA members teach in bad conditions. Much like teachers that teach in tough conditions.


Have you done something amazing that you're comparing TFA with or are you just being dismissive to provoke people?

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Kohinoor
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:17 am

worldtraveler wrote:Not to dismiss the hard work that TFA members do...but the stuff some other posters described really just described teachers in general. All teachers (well, unless they're incredibly lazy) spend extra time grading, planning and just doing stuff for their job outside of working hours.
I think TFA is pretty impressive, but I also don't think it's any more amazing than people who teach in lower income areas in general. If someone is teaching in an inner city, it doesn't matter whether they are in TFA or not: the job is damn hard and stressful.

I think the OP is asking why TFA gets extra benefits and other teachers don't? I'm pretty sure he grasps what TFA is.

I don't really see a difference in the selflessness displayed by TFA members and any other person that chooses to teach in the same circumstances.


TFA members usually pay a greater opportunity cost to teach in the inner city.

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wiscgrl03
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Re: TFA...wait a sec.....

Postby wiscgrl03 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:19 am

"
yes.

but don't write 'tough conditions' dismissively. i can't stress enough how difficult it is to face this population of students and these challenges every day. it is really tough. and unlike most teachers that teach in tough conditions, we usually are quite successful with our kids. surviving this job, and succeeding in this job are two different things."


As a TFA member I agree. TFA corps members are the only reason the school I teach in has not been shut down. 3 teachers in our school last year had the highest test scores in the state, and whoever compared TFA to the other teachers at the same schools, well that makes me laugh. TFA members are always the first to arrive, the last to leave, and they are being successful at the jobs that no one else has been able to do. If these other teachers in these schools were doing their job and being successful there would be no need for TFA to be there.

Also to the OP other than the Peace Corps (which to me is pretty similiar to TFA only it is done internationally) what else would you put ranking higher than TFA in softs. For what its worth I had a friend who just completed the PC, and even she will admit that TFA is more difficult.
Last edited by wiscgrl03 on Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.




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