Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Strong and Sustainable Teacher Preparation

I originally posted the following comment on MN2020's Tuesday Talk.  The topic was TFA

"It seems to me there are two main reasons to join TFA. One is as a resume builder. There are some variations to this line of thinking such as using it as a backup to finding permanent employment, but there are clearly a large number of TFA corp members who don’t want to be career teachers, and they should not be playing teacher. Teaching takes commitment.

On the other hand, it is clear there are people who are choosing TFA because they do want teaching as a career. While I welcome them, it does a disservice to our students for them to take a shortcut to the classroom. This is why the U of MN should not be partnering with TFA.

If you were a college senior or junior and you wanted to go into teaching which route would you take—Option 1: A two year program that will take two years and cost you thousands of dollar, or Option 2: a five (maybe eight?) week summer training that has you teaching and getting paid for those same two years?

After paying for four years of college already, I know I would find option 2 very appealing. The problem, of course, is option two is good for the adult, not for the students they will serve. Dean Jean Quam of the U of M’s CEHD told me the University’s two year program is far superior to any TFA model. Which begs the question: why create a shortcut?

In the spirit of solutions, we should be talking about how we can make it affordable and even financially rewarding for college students to take the best route to the profession of teaching and not a short cut that short changes our students."

TFA is by design a shortcut to the classroom and it is a union-busting temp agency.  Those of us who are serious about education need to get TFA out of the picture and look at sustainable ways to prepare future teachers and, especially in the Twin Cities, diversify our teacher ranks.

Posted by: Rob Panning-Miller

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hear an interview with the author of this piece ROBER PANNING-MILLER with U of M grad student RACHEL SMITH on the AUG.2 edition of CATALYST:politics & culture archived on the CATALYST page at www.kfai.org

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