Friday, June 15, 2012

Some Stories Which Reveal the Elitist Character of Teach for America

Both of These TFA Applicants Came From Families of Modest Means Having (regrettably) participated in the program, having come from a low-income family, and finding myself completely out of place there by many who were even far above upper middle class, I highly, highly concur. My favorite story was when I was attending a TFA meeting with 100+ other TFA corps members, and someone anounced "Whoever parked their black Bentley out front needs to move it", and about 5 people stood up at the same time. Yes. 5 early 20-somethings, with black bentleys, each of which costs upward of $100,000..teaching at the most impoverished inner city schools I went to a TFA interview and sat next to a girl from Harvard who had flown to NYC from Boston, and was flying to Philly for a different interview the following day. Another highlight of TFA is how they pitch the program saying, "TFA members have gone on to work for JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, etc., etc." - exactly the motivation teachers in inner cities need most.. Regarding the girl flying from city to city - at that point (graduating college) I could hardly afford the bus. My first job out of college ended up being a stint as a porter/doorman in the Upper East Side (partly why I was desperate enough to approach TFA in the first place). First Responder's Addendum Another story was also when I was interviewing for TFA. They do some kind of sales pitch presentation about how great TFA is before they actually interview us, and so while I was sitting there waiting for the presentation to begin, a guy next to me who was also going to be interviewing, decided to regale me with stories about his family's castle on the Chans de Lise and about several of the racing horses he owns that professional jockeys race and the races they have won. Then he asked me about myself and I told him I just got back from Food Lion where I got all different flavors of ramen noodles for less than 3 bucks, on triple coupon day (yes I mentioned this my neighborh and he changed seats. TFA is an organization run and funded by the 1%, and it feeds its own. Teaching low income children of color for a couple of years is really just a resume builder for them, as they move on to executive positions afterward. They admit it openly, that they are doing it just so it will "look good on their resume." It is actually a selling point when TFA folks come to recruit, they are not ashamed to admit it. I became disgusted after a while by how openly these snotty rich kids were using and exploiting children of color for their own career boost. But at this point I was already a corps member. Thankfully, after the initial summer internship and a few saturday classes, I really didn't have to deal with these morons much anymore. I was in a school, and could focus on becoming a better teacher. Would I do things differently if I had to do them over again - probably so - TFA is a despicable organization,a nd this is coming from someone who saw it from the inside. However, my passion, transformation, and radicalization came from working with the very kids that TFA placed me with. So at least for me, it was an important part of my life. Of course, I grew up in those very schools, so I was far from the usual TFA teacher. I continued to teach long after the 2-year commitment, as well, and went on to get my licensure the proper way, and commit myself to these issues, not just use these kids for my own selfish gain

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We had one of their slimey surrogates posting some pro charter garbage in the Buffalo News a while back as a letter to the editor. It was the usual phoney horseshit from a corporate troll with an English degree who never had any intentions of spending a minute more than he had to with disgusting people like public school kids. Just look at their board members pics and you can smell the Bentleys and the wieney mentality. We need people like you teaching school not silver spoon opportunists like these schmucks.