Today I had a meeting with my MTLD, advisor like person who is actually younger than me. I told her that while I believe in helping to solve education inequality I don’t believe that TFA is accomplishing that goal because of the way it is set up. I told her that instead of sending inexperienced teachers into a failing school they should be providing these schools with resources they desperately need and not putting pressure on first year teachers to solve all the problems with education. I also told her that I don’t intend to be associated with the organization for very long. She asked me what this year of struggle has taught me. And I told her that it makes want to be a teacher even more. Because that’s why I did this. But she made it seem like I was weird and in the minority. She somehow got the impression that I was in this for the wrong reasons. Which I’m not sure what those would be or how she could think that. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know that I would have to fight an organization that is supposed to be supporting me to do just that. I knew that my working conditions wouldn’t be great. And I would’ve been able to deal with it because of the joy I get from teaching my kids and my work. But the pay issues and the lack of support from TFA was too much for me to handle. She said that I am strongest as a transformational changer for my students. Which I argue, is why I am there. I’m not here to further their twisted agenda of “change” and if that doesn’t make me a cookie cutter “TFA Leader” that they can collect and put on their shelf, I am so okay with that.
If TFA were merely a program designed to train and recruit new temporary teachers, it might be defensible—even if it hardly represents a comprehensive solution to the problems in our schools. The real problem is that TFA has fed into a larger, corporate-driven education movement that has worked to privatize education, pulling resources out of neighborhood schools and abandoning the kids most in need of quality public instruction.