(Closed) MAJOR ADVICE NEEDED: TFA (within the next three to four hours, please!)

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I don’t have much advice since I’m not familiar with the program or anything like that. The only thing I will say, is that you should consider what your priorities are right now. It sounds like this program could be a really good move for you career-wise, but maybe not so good for your relationship. Is career a priority for you right now? If it is, then maybe you should do it. However, if you feel that your relationship is your highest priority, then you may feel really unhappy putting the time and effort commitment into this program. Just something to think about.

Post # 4
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I didn’t think it would be a post about TFA that convinced me to finally stop lurking (hi, ladies!), but here’s two cents from someone who grew up with a dad in the military, so I understand that lifestyle, and who did TFA a few years ago: it’s not about having a job. Simple as that; TFA isn’t about job security, and you’ll be miserable going into a commitment, be it TFA or marraige, if you’re not doing it because you love it. In my mind, it’s is unfair to the kids who will be your students, and also yourself.

Reading your post, a commitment to education equity and improving outcomes for students in Atlanta don’t seem to be your biggest priorities right now–you’ve got a lot going on, and it’s not a sin to want to do other things–so I would decline the spot. TFA isn’t necessarily for people who want to teach, although that is (obviously) a large part of it; it’s specifically for people who want to get involved in improving educational opportunities in high-needs areas. If that isn’t your passion, it’s worth the student loans to find a teaching placement that is. 

Post # 5
Member
1391 posts
Bumble bee

It sounds like you do not want to take the job.

Post # 6
Member
3463 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Agree with Sunflower.  You don’t sound like you want the job, but are just looking for support/validation in rejecting it.

 

Post # 7
Member
7463 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@RedHairing:  Simple as that; TFA isn’t about job security, and you’ll be miserable going into a commitment, be it TFA or marraige, if you’re not doing it because you love it. In my mind, it’s is unfair to the kids who will be your students, and also yourself….If that isn’t your passion, it’s worth the student loans to find a teaching placement that is

I agree. No where do you talk about the improving the lives of students its all about the potentional negative and time conflicts that will affect your life. I say pass.

Post # 8
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Hi, 

 

As someone who has second-hand experience with the Atlanta institue (my best friend entered the core in 09 & I lived in the city), I don’t think you will be able to spend your weekends as you hope. Institute is really intense, and you will have group activities & homework/assignments/lesson plans due on the weekends. And you missing your friends’ weddings doesn’t sound like something you are really up to doing. And the first 2 years of TFA are hard (again, outside looking in). You may be placed in a school where you don’t have a lot of support being an “outsider” (not a traditional teacher track). And the school system in ATL is a mess as they are still recovering from the standardized testing scandal a couple years ago. And while this is a great reason to join the core, so that you can try to be effective for the students while the district is restructuring, it can also be the reason why you are no longer fully committed to the program. I will reiterate what the other posters have said: recognize what your personal priorities are now. The reward of teaching/serving an at-risk community are great. But if you wake up everyday and only see the sacrafices that you are making, you will not enjoy it. In my experience, this would also make you an ineffective teacher. I don’t think that any of us are trying to be discouraging, but this is truly a decision you must make for yourself.

 

Good Luck! & Good Luck with your wedding planning!

 

Post # 10
Member
2535 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

My FI’s ex-girlfriend (I like her and talk to her sometimes) did/does TFA in Newark, NJ. She is also a 20-something white girl, and doesn’t have much of a problem relating to her students. I think she brings a very good sense of humor with her into work everyday – you kind of need that sometimes. The school she worked at was near my college campus, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t violence or shootings – though those happened rarely, and at night. Car break-ins and fights, yes. Heavy police presence there so these things don’t happen as frequently as they could.
I think her workload is difficult, but she enjoys it, so she seems very happy there. She’s been working there for the last 5 years or so, I think beyond what her TFA assignment was.

If you’ve always wanted to do TFA, and are certain you can work through it and love it, I say push your schedule around and go for it (sorry to say that the rest of the world operates on Sundays, and you will be passing up major opportunities if that is an excuse for you to not take a test). You can work hard and still have a good marriage, don’t let the “first year” be a factor in a job desicion.

I don’t think your personal situation is and better or worse than other applicant’s and having mostly weddings in your life certainly doesn’t entitle you to special treatment, especially in an urban-area TFA program.

If this is stressing you out already, is it worth it? Maybe all of these conflicts with your schedule and beliefs are signs that this isn’t the place for you – if you’re starting out a job in an uncomfortable situation it’s not really starting on the right foot. You don’t have teaching experience, and if your first jab at teaching is beyond difficult it could start your entire career off on the wrong foot.

It doesn’t sound like you want to do this. I mean, you’ve already asked about credits transferring if you quit the program? I think you want to pass on the opportunity – PP’s are right, you just need the validation for your reasons.

Some things may look good on your resume, but that doesn’t really matter if they make you miserable.

Post # 11
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Sure; I didn’t mean to imply you don’t care about kids in low-income communities, or that you wouldn’t enjoy teaching in a high-needs school. I’m certainly sorry if it came off that way–I think anyone who truly loves teaching would agree that our education system is a mess and that they’d love to help all students in any way they can. 

When I read your post, the bits of information that you have bolded were what I thought you were trying to emphasize were your current priorities. Assuming those are your priorities, if you removed all of the other text and focused on those, you have your answer. 

TFA is hands-down what you make it. I’ve also read those blog posts; I can understand your concerns. Teaching is hard. Teaching in struggling schools is harder. In my experience, though, the TFA corps members who struggled the most were usually those who a) had never failed at anything before, b) expected building relationships with their colleagues and students to be easy c) expected to be the very best right out of the gate (and to be recognized for that) and/or d) all of the above. Teaching is humbling; you make tons of mistakes every day, and while you have an invaluable network of support (especially if you know WHO and HOW to ask for it), there isn’t any hand-holding. 

But, teaching gets easier every year and the students will win your heart over. If you’re not in a place to be an excellent teacher for them–if you would resent them for having to cut a weekend with your FI short so you can lesson plan, or give up a Skype date so you can attend professional development–now isn’t the time. 

You might call your regional office and ask about deferring for a year. It’s usually only done in extreme circumstances, but better to ask than miss out on an opportunity you do care about.

Post # 12
Member
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Savannah, GA

After reading your post, it honestly sounds to me like you are a bit nervous about the position and you’re looking for reasons not to accept the position.  It’s a big commitment, but it would be good experience and if it’s something you’re passionate about, I think you could manage it.  Would you regret not doing it in the future?  It’s very competitive and you’ve been selected so they definitely see something in you. 

Post # 13
Member
2201 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

I’ve messaged you the email of someone who might be able to help w advice!

Post # 14
Member
7463 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Any updates?

Post # 16
Member
3721 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Hope_To_Be_MrsLovebug:  Here is my advice, feel free to PM me for more info. I study TFA teachers and it isn’t a horrible program, but far from the best. It is better for some people more than others and It sounds like it isn’t a good fit for you and you are not likely to be successful in it. As a result, it seems like you will be far too stressed to get good (keep in mind, first year teachers suck, second year teachers begin to do no harm, teachers get okay in years 3-5, then they get good).

 

My advice would be to turn it down, go through a teaching residency program where you get a full year of supervised student teaching with support. That way you don’t harm kids as much because the real teacher can provide enrichment as you learn. Then there are always teaching jobs. Some are hard, but with a year residency and good references, you will be hired.

Oops– just saw your post. Feel free to PM me if you want career advice and program suggestions. I don’t teach, but study the teacher labor market and teacher effectiveness, so I have a sense of what makes good teachers and happy teachers.

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