Bienvenido a Miami

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 05 2011

Free speech!

Here’s an interesting NY Times article on outspoken teachers losing their jobs over Facebook posts, which has sparked a debate over professional responsibility vs. freedom of speech outside the classroom.

I think we in the teaching profession hold the added responsibility of always being on the job.  We are not only teachers but role models, super heroes, mentors, friends, and day-time parents.  Remember that weird thrill that came from seeing your teacher doing some mundane task outside of school, like grocery shopping?   Imagine if you’d overheard that teacher venting that she wouldn’t throw you a life vest if you were drowning in the ocean.  Ouch.

For me as a blogger, this article inspired me re-think my last post as well as the purpose of this blog.  I do not mean for this blog to be a place for me to grumble, whine or complain about TFA or my employment as a corps member.  I hope to share my thoughts on the big world of education, of which TFA is an integral component, as well as chronicle my adventures in the classroom.

As an incoming corps member, I am a skeptical supporter of TFA.  I don’t agree with everything the organization says or does, but I’m willing to work my butt off for my students and to positively represent TFA to my local community.

My view is not the only view and I’m as eager to hear different perspectives as I am to share my own, so please feel free to share your experience or thoughts in the comments below!

I would argue to even the harshest critic that at the very least TFA needs to be applauded for bringing the education debate to the mainstream and illuminating a serious but often ignored problem in our society: our current public education system. However, I think TFA deserves much more praise than this, especially at the individual level.

There are corps members across America doing amazing things in and out of their classrooms on a daily basis.  They work incredibly hard for their students in spite of meager salary, recognition and respect from society.  Not to mention the numerous alumni working outside the education sector in the fight for equality in the schools system.

This blog is not associated with the Education Equality Project and does not represent the views of the organization

Partially, I think I doubt TFA because I doubt myself as a teacher. I doubt my ability to give my students the high-quality education I feel they deserve and therefore doubt any organization that will give me that magnitude of responsibility after only 5 weeks of training. Each day when I enter the classroom, no matter how thoroughly I’ve prepared, I don’t know if anything I do that day will result in my students actually learning. My kids’ education is my job and I’m still just a student myself.

*Next post will be a 2-parter and something I’ve wanted to write on for quite a while: the differences between the American and Taiwanese public education systems.  They’re very different and make for quite an interesting comparison, and while both have their individual strengths and weaknesses,  I think both countries could learn a lot from each other.  Stay tuned!

2 Responses

  1. elsa

    super interesting NYT article!! I’m also torn on my blog between wanting to be brutally honest about my TFA experience and the need to be professional.

    • Miss M

      It’s a fine line for sure! I know that as an incoming corps member myself, the blogs I’ve found to be the most helpful all seemed to be pretty honest accounts of CM’s time in the classroom — including both the good and the not-so-lovely. What’s your assignment for next year?

      And thank you for the comment :-)

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