instruction,  musings

the new teacher down the hall

I may be psychic.

Just kidding, I’m not turning in my teacher hat to become the next Miss Cleo.

I expressed yesterday how much I wished that BPS students would come back to teach in their communities. This would be so much more meaningful than recruiting more Teach for America folk, for reasons very well said in this article by Valerie Strauss. For one, “the organization’s facile circumvention of the grinding, difficult, but profoundly empowering work of teaching and administering schools has created the illusion that there are quick fixes, not only for failing schools but for deeply entrenched patterns of poverty and inequality.” Bringing bright young college graduates to urban public school systems can be quite informative and culturally eye-opening, but it’s a superficial fix akin to painting concealer on a zit and expecting it to go away. Furthermore, TFA often serves as a “pathway to wealth and power for those already privileged in the rapidly expanding educational-industrial complex, which already offers numerous careers for the ambitious and well-connected.” I hate when teaching in urban schools is treated like a stepping stone or “street cred” to collect before founding an educational technology startup or heading off to business school. What a terrible message to convey to our students, to other teachers, and to prospective teachers–that teaching isn’t enough.

Teaching proved to be enough for me today. Reading down the list of new staff, I came up on the name of a student who I had taught as a senior during my first year of teaching (2008-2009). He’s coming to the school to teach 8th grade math. So proud of him and of our school community.

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