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

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

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:22 am

Kohinoor wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What is so disgusting to you about being compared to other teachers? You act as though all non-TFA teachers are low-lifes that take these jobs because it's the only thing they can do? Has it occurred to you that some of them take these jobs for the same reason that people join TFA? No...apparently only TFA people can do it out of the goodness of their heart, and other teachers do it because they aren't smart enough to do other things.


Disgusting. Lowlifes. These are words that you used. Let's make that clear. Took the jobs because it's the only thing they can do? I'd argue they took the job because it's a job. Most TFA people can confirm that a number of the teachers are there for a paycheck.


Yet TFA'ers who are applying to law school are different b/c they do it solely for the kids? Seriously dood, read your argument again.

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

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:36 am

badfish wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What is so disgusting to you about being compared to other teachers? You act as though all non-TFA teachers are low-lifes that take these jobs because it's the only thing they can do? Has it occurred to you that some of them take these jobs for the same reason that people join TFA? No...apparently only TFA people can do it out of the goodness of their heart, and other teachers do it because they aren't smart enough to do other things.


Disgusting. Lowlifes. These are words that you used. Let's make that clear. Took the jobs because it's the only thing they can do? I'd argue they took the job because it's a job. Most TFA people can confirm that a number of the teachers are there for a paycheck.


Yet TFA'ers who are applying to law school are different b/c they do it solely for the kids? Seriously dood, read your argument again.


They may not be doing it for the kids but at least they actually work with the kids rather than sitting in the classroom for 45 minutes. The TFA people tend to be more motivated going in than many of the existing teachers. I never said they do it only because they're trying to change the world.

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

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:41 am

Kohinoor wrote:
badfish wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:What is so disgusting to you about being compared to other teachers? You act as though all non-TFA teachers are low-lifes that take these jobs because it's the only thing they can do? Has it occurred to you that some of them take these jobs for the same reason that people join TFA? No...apparently only TFA people can do it out of the goodness of their heart, and other teachers do it because they aren't smart enough to do other things.


Disgusting. Lowlifes. These are words that you used. Let's make that clear. Took the jobs because it's the only thing they can do? I'd argue they took the job because it's a job. Most TFA people can confirm that a number of the teachers are there for a paycheck.


Yet TFA'ers who are applying to law school are different b/c they do it solely for the kids? Seriously dood, read your argument again.


They may not be doing it for the kids but at least they actually work with the kids rather than sitting in the classroom for 45 minutes. The TFA people tend to be more motivated going in than many of the existing teachers. I never said they do it only because they're trying to change the world.


This argument would only fly if we had ceteris paribus between TFA people and regular teachers. A teacher working fo 30 years in a broken system will probably be a little more jaded than a TFA teacher who is there for their 2 years and knows there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm not saying it isn't true but you can't judge these people on the same standards, who knows how TFA people would be if they were put in the same situations for the same period of time. Hell, I know TFA people right now who are jaded as hell after a year of working in their current systems.

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

Postby Kohinoor » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:47 am

badfish wrote:A teacher working fo 30 years in a broken system will probably be a little more jaded than a TFA teacher who is there for their 2 years and knows there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


Fair enough. But I wasn't arguing that the TFA students are better people. I was arguing that for the duration of their work they tend to deliver a better product. I'm fully aware of the reason why. (1) They get to leave and they know it. (2) People tend to work harder when they feel they've chosen to do something as opposed to having the choice forced upon them. Ceteris paribus (you could just have said 'all other things being equal' and saved me the trouble of looking it up) doesn't apply here.

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

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:48 am

Kohinoor wrote: Ceteris paribus (you could just have said 'all other things being equal' and saved me the trouble of looking it up) doesn't apply here.


Sorry, that's just habitual from economic theory.

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

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:50 am

Kohinoor wrote:Fair enough. But I wasn't arguing that the TFA students are better people. I was arguing that for the duration of their work they tend to deliver a better product.


Again, I don't think my argument was so much this as it was why TFA gets a better rap than other teachers in similar situations. I think TFA is a great program and all TFAers deserve whatever boost they get. I also think other teachers (who work in similar situations) deserve a similar boost.

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

Postby wiscgrl03 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:59 am

badfish wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:Fair enough. But I wasn't arguing that the TFA students are better people. I was arguing that for the duration of their work they tend to deliver a better product.


Again, I don't think my argument was so much this as it was why TFA gets a better rap than other teachers in similar situations. I think TFA is a great program and all TFAers deserve whatever boost they get. I also think other teachers (who work in similar situations) deserve a similar boost.


I would agree with this if you were looking at results. There are TFA people who don't get good results and not always for a lack of trying. But the teachers who work in these schools and do nothing but watch movies and have free time should not get a boost, and I don't care if it is because they are jaded they are still doing a huge diservice to their kids.

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

Postby fanfavourite » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:18 am

badfish wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:Fair enough. But I wasn't arguing that the TFA students are better people. I was arguing that for the duration of their work they tend to deliver a better product.


Again, I don't think my argument was so much this as it was why TFA gets a better rap than other teachers in similar situations. I think TFA is a great program and all TFAers deserve whatever boost they get. I also think other teachers (who work in similar situations) deserve a similar boost.


Other teachers in similar situations do deserve a boost, and most of the time I'm sure they get it. If there is a difference, it is because of TFA's selectivity and the reputation of the program. And maybe we even get some credit for our willingness to take the risk of (for many of us) moving across the country to somewhere different to do this.

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

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:40 am

wiscgrl03 wrote:
badfish wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:Fair enough. But I wasn't arguing that the TFA students are better people. I was arguing that for the duration of their work they tend to deliver a better product.


Again, I don't think my argument was so much this as it was why TFA gets a better rap than other teachers in similar situations. I think TFA is a great program and all TFAers deserve whatever boost they get. I also think other teachers (who work in similar situations) deserve a similar boost.


I would agree with this if you were looking at results. There are TFA people who don't get good results and not always for a lack of trying. But the teachers who work in these schools and do nothing but watch movies and have free time should not get a boost, and I don't care if it is because they are jaded they are still doing a huge diservice to their kids.


Hard to prove one way or another. Is a TFA'er a good teacher simply because they did TFA? Is another teacher a bad teacher simply because they didn't do TFA?

If you are going to give a boost one way or another, you would have to give it universally. I know it sucks, but how else can you know?

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

Postby wiscgrl03 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:00 pm

badfish wrote:
wiscgrl03 wrote:
badfish wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:Fair enough. But I wasn't arguing that the TFA students are better people. I was arguing that for the duration of their work they tend to deliver a better product.


Again, I don't think my argument was so much this as it was why TFA gets a better rap than other teachers in similar situations. I think TFA is a great program and all TFAers deserve whatever boost they get. I also think other teachers (who work in similar situations) deserve a similar boost.


I would agree with this if you were looking at results. There are TFA people who don't get good results and not always for a lack of trying. But the teachers who work in these schools and do nothing but watch movies and have free time should not get a boost, and I don't care if it is because they are jaded they are still doing a huge diservice to their kids.


Hard to prove one way or another. Is a TFA'er a good teacher simply because they did TFA? Is another teacher a bad teacher simply because they didn't do TFA?

If you are going to give a boost one way or another, you would have to give it universally. I know it sucks, but how else can you know?


Fairly easily I would think. My resume was pretty clear. Closed the achievment gap by X amount, had highest test scores in the school for subject, had a pass rate of X amount. I mean for some classes it could be pretty subjective because not all of them have standardized tests, but just like every job there is a measure of success or a benchmark for what you have been able to achieve with your students. Same as with most jobs I would think, there are ways to determine who has been successful and who has not right?

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

Postby badfish » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:21 pm

wiscgrl03 wrote:
Fairly easily I would think. My resume was pretty clear. Closed the achievment gap by X amount, had highest test scores in the school for subject, had a pass rate of X amount. I mean for some classes it could be pretty subjective because not all of them have standardized tests, but just like every job there is a measure of success or a benchmark for what you have been able to achieve with your students. Same as with most jobs I would think, there are ways to determine who has been successful and who has not right?


This is an interesting point. Admittedly I'm not familiar with how teachers write their resumes so I can't attest one way or the other. The question that would rise in my mind is how law schools would use this information to give you an additional boost over someone who didn't provide it. For example, how does" "I closed the achievement gap by X amount" compare to "Y amount" and to the person who doesn't write about the achievement gap at all? The subjective differences seem like personal statement material to me.

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

Postby masterpinky0509 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:27 pm

I don't see what the big argument here is. TFA demonstrates comparable altruism to things like the Peace Corps, but has the added element of being highly selective. As many here know via anecdotal experience, people with stunning resumes are turned away regularly. Essentially, an admissions officer will be inclined to respect the work of another screening process that weeds out candidates based on many of the same characteristics they are searching for. As an earlier poster said, it's a signaling effect.

I've always thought that its structure is very flawed: intense training for a short period of time seems insufficient preparation for being a teacher, and then 2 years of real-world experience is basically enough so that you really start getting good at teaching. Of course, just when you start mastering it, you have the option to get out! And the vast majority of TFA'ers do, for things like law or business which will become their true careers. It makes TFA seem like a feeder to elite law/business schools, one which requires an exchange of 2 years for significant boosts to LSAT/GPA.

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

Postby prezidentv8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:31 pm

masterpinky0509 wrote:I don't see what the big argument here is. TFA demonstrates comparable altruism to things like the Peace Corps, but has the added element of being highly selective. As many here know via anecdotal experience, people with stunning resumes are turned away regularly. Essentially, an admissions officer will be inclined to respect the work of another screening process that weeds out candidates based on many of the same characteristics they are searching for. As an earlier poster said, it's a signaling effect.


This was more of the response I think I was looking for, particularly the part about people with stunning resumes getting turned down, as well as what someone else said about when people actually explain what they did, they get a boost.

Seems like a lot of people got their feelings hurt on the way there. Wtf? Chill out folks.

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

Postby Diana341 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:47 pm

badfish wrote:That said I have many friends who are TFA teachers and I understand how difficult it is. They deserve the ridiculous softs. Other teachers who teach in similar situations do as well. That's what I think WT is getting at, and I tend to agree.


+ 1.

On a related note, are applicants who were in other teaching programs such as NY Teaching fellows viewed in the same light as TFA alums?

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

Postby MHP » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:02 pm

I am a teacher.

I did NOT do TFA.

I went to an undergrad engineering/science school and did not pursue a degree in education and I guess I could have had a lot of jobs other than teaching.

I went through an alternative certification program (albeit, one somewhat modeled after TFA) for one summer before entering the classroom. I teach special education. I teach students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I usually have two, large male assistants with me at all times. I have taught in the worst urban schools (middle school, at that) and the poorest rural schools. My students are unable to function in a regular education room. They need extreme support, frequent counseling and constant redirection. My job is damn hard and I am damn good at it. This is my fifth year.

Perhaps I've gotten a boost this admissions cycle. I've had solid acceptances. I think that there are a lot of TFAers out there applying to law scool and so if anything, the fact that I am NOT from TFA makes me a bit more of a unique candidate. Also, does anyone from TFA end up teaching the behaviorally disturbed? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it.

But anyway, yes, I think I've gotten whatever boost I deserved given the altruism, dedication and imperturbability demanded by my current profession. (For the record, we had an Ivy League TFAer at my inner city middle school during my second year there. She quit mid-year.) In my opinion, being a teacher-- even one NOT from TFA-- can help in admissions.

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

Postby onenotesamba » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:05 pm

MHP wrote:I am a teacher.

I did NOT do TFA.

I went to an undergrad engineering/science school and did not pursue a degree in education and I guess I could have had a lot of jobs other than teaching.

I went through an alternative certification program (albeit, one somewhat modeled after TFA) for one summer before entering the classroom. I teach special education. I teach students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I usually have two, large male assistants with me at all times. I have taught in the worst urban schools (middle school, at that) and the poorest rural schools. My students are unable to function in a regular education room. They need extreme support, frequent counseling and constant redirection. My job is damn hard and I am damn good at it. This is my fifth year.

Perhaps I've gotten a boost this admissions cycle. I've had solid acceptances. I think that there are a lot of TFAers out there applying to law scool and so if anything, the fact that I am NOT from TFA makes me a bit more of a unique candidate. Also, does anyone from TFA end up teaching the behaviorally disturbed? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it.

But anyway, yes, I think I've gotten whatever boost I deserved given the altruism, dedication and imperturbability demanded by my current profession. (For the record, we had an Ivy League TFAer at my inner city middle school during my second year there. She quit mid-year.) In my opinion, being a teacher-- even one NOT from TFA-- can help in admissions.


They do. It's an additional application process because obviously they have to screen people more stringently. I have friend teaching developmentally-challenged children in Philadelphia via TFA.

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

Postby markymark » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:08 pm

Didn't bother to read the whole thread, but I'd just like to mention that TFA runs the gamut. I have 2 friends who have done it and my older brother is currently in it. My older brother lucked out and got the job in Chicago. He teaches on the south side, but lives up in Lincoln Park. He says it is one of the easiest jobs he's ever held. However, one of my other friends who did it had to move to rural New Mexico and found the whole thing very stressful. I don't think it should be seen as some "awesome" soft. Quite franklyk, I don't think it really is either (despite the hype it gets on this board)

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

Postby MHP » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:14 pm

onenotesamba wrote:
They do. It's an additional application process because obviously they have to screen people more stringently. I have friend teaching developmentally-challenged children in Philadelphia via TFA.


Yes, but there is a big difference between serving students in special education who are classified as EBD/SED (Emotionally Behaviorally Disabled/Severely Emotionally Disturbed) versus 'developmentally-challenged', which I am assuming refers to intellectual disabilities and/or learning disabilities. I have heard of TFA corps teaching LD students, but I have not heard of them teaching students with BD.

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

Postby TammyG » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:16 pm

worldtraveler"[quote="worldtraveler wrote:
Kohinoor wrote:
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.


Huh? How?


Most teachers could make more money doing something else if they chose to. You don't think people with math and science degrees could have had a more lucrative degree had they chosen to do something besides teach?

Why does it even matter what people are giving up? If the point is about service, why get into a pissing match about "OMG I could have made so much more money but I'm important because I chose to teach?"[/quote]

The sad thing is that many of the teachers with math and science degrees aren't teaching in these low income areas. Those individuals chose to teach in better neighborhoods or in private school. The schools TFAers are being sent into are struggling to get teachers - especially ones who can teach Math or Science. As a TFAer on here confessed - he/she is teaching science, something he/she hadn't even studied and had to learn the material prior to teaching.

So yes, a graduate from HYP UG or someone who has been accepted to a T-14 LS but decides to defer to do TFA, does have a higher opportunity cost. And the reason opportunity cost is being discussed is because you and OP are asking why TFA is a "great" soft and we are simply trying to elucidate it for you.

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

Postby wiscgrl03 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:17 pm

onenotesamba wrote:
MHP wrote:I am a teacher.

I did NOT do TFA.

I went to an undergrad engineering/science school and did not pursue a degree in education and I guess I could have had a lot of jobs other than teaching.

I went through an alternative certification program (albeit, one somewhat modeled after TFA) for one summer before entering the classroom. I teach special education. I teach students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I usually have two, large male assistants with me at all times. I have taught in the worst urban schools (middle school, at that) and the poorest rural schools. My students are unable to function in a regular education room. They need extreme support, frequent counseling and constant redirection. My job is damn hard and I am damn good at it. This is my fifth year.

Perhaps I've gotten a boost this admissions cycle. I've had solid acceptances. I think that there are a lot of TFAers out there applying to law scool and so if anything, the fact that I am NOT from TFA makes me a bit more of a unique candidate. Also, does anyone from TFA end up teaching the behaviorally disturbed? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it.

But anyway, yes, I think I've gotten whatever boost I deserved given the altruism, dedication and imperturbability demanded by my current profession. (For the record, we had an Ivy League TFAer at my inner city middle school during my second year there. She quit mid-year.) In my opinion, being a teacher-- even one NOT from TFA-- can help in admissions.


They do. It's an additional application process because obviously they have to screen people more stringently. I have friend teaching developmentally-challenged children in Philadelphia via TFA.


I think it depends on your placement region. For instance my roomate teaches all Behavior and Mentally disabled students, and is considered special ed.
My class that I have right now (they are testing today which is why I have spent way too much time on here today instead of grading) has 3 bi-polar students, 4 students who have served time (their parole officers frequent my class every other week) and a couple of students who have behavior disorders.
My region has what is supposed to be an inclusion setting where BMD students are placed in regular classes, and then they are supposed to have an assistant with you. I have these types of classes, no assistant. This is very illegal, but we have no money for assistants.

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

Postby MHP » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:20 pm

wiscgrl03 wrote:
My region has what is supposed to be an inclusion setting where BMD students are placed in regular classes, and then they are supposed to have an assistant with you. I have these types of classes, no assistant. This is very illegal, but we have no money for assistants.


I am a big proponent of self-contained settings for these kids. I am sorry to hear of your situation. The kids who leave my self-contained program usually do much better after just one year of intense, self-contained instruction. Inclusion is rough. It is an interesting legal issue.

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

Postby FuturehoyaLawya » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:24 pm

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.


its special because not that many people can handle this kind of work.....you said it yourself--you couldn't. TFA gets lots of applications a year.....many people apply, few get accepted, and some do not even stay pass the first year. It's a great soft, and only adds to your life experiences.....because if you didn't know, TFA tries to pick the best and the brightest applicants (who could of gotten better jobs in the first place) then place them in some of the worst performing schools and communities in the nation. This job is not for everyone. And those who complete TFA, this says a lot not only about the person, but the organization as a whole. Because hopefully, these same individuals go on to advance TFA's ideals in other professions, such as law, public policy, and the like. TFA provides a solid foundation for future lawyers and doctors....which is why there are so many perks to sway people to apply to TFA first, then law and med school second.

New York and D.C. have similar programs, but their programs are not as known as TFA, which specifically targets college graduates who shown not only the leadership and TFA ideals throughout their college careers...but who will in the greater scheme of things become the future leaders of america or Obamas ;)

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

Postby wiscgrl03 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:29 pm

MHP wrote:
wiscgrl03 wrote:
My region has what is supposed to be an inclusion setting where BMD students are placed in regular classes, and then they are supposed to have an assistant with you. I have these types of classes, no assistant. This is very illegal, but we have no money for assistants.


I am a big proponent of self-contained settings for these kids. I am sorry to hear of your situation. The kids who leave my self-contained program usually do much better after just one year of intense, self-contained instruction. Inclusion is rough. It is an interesting legal issue.


I agree that a self contained setting is better, that is what my roomate has lucked out with. The worst part for me is not that I don't have an assistant ( I am a control freak and would probably have issues with that), but the size of the class. The one with my most BED kids has 36 in it. The cap is supposed to be 24, plus we are in a trailor with only 28 desks, makes things pretty interesting. Those students just need more individualized intense instruction which is hard to do in a class this size.

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

Postby muddywaters » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:09 pm

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.


You were denied, huh? S'okay...

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

Postby LawandOrder » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:15 pm

MHP wrote:I am a teacher.

I did NOT do TFA.

I went to an undergrad engineering/science school and did not pursue a degree in education and I guess I could have had a lot of jobs other than teaching.

I went through an alternative certification program (albeit, one somewhat modeled after TFA) for one summer before entering the classroom. I teach special education. I teach students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I usually have two, large male assistants with me at all times. I have taught in the worst urban schools (middle school, at that) and the poorest rural schools. My students are unable to function in a regular education room. They need extreme support, frequent counseling and constant redirection. My job is damn hard and I am damn good at it. This is my fifth year.

Perhaps I've gotten a boost this admissions cycle. I've had solid acceptances. I think that there are a lot of TFAers out there applying to law scool and so if anything, the fact that I am NOT from TFA makes me a bit more of a unique candidate. Also, does anyone from TFA end up teaching the behaviorally disturbed? I don't know for sure, but I doubt it.

But anyway, yes, I think I've gotten whatever boost I deserved given the altruism, dedication and imperturbability demanded by my current profession. (For the record, we had an Ivy League TFAer at my inner city middle school during my second year there. She quit mid-year.) In my opinion, being a teacher-- even one NOT from TFA-- can help in admissions.


Can you enlighten me about your motivation for doing what you do?




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