Wednesday, August 15, 2012


From Anne Pritchett in Kansas City:

We have hundreds of TFAs in Kansas City. 5 in my building - this is their second year. They are nice, dedicated young people who believe they are doing something noble. But the time the rest of the staff has to spend helping them is unreal. Imagine 5 brand new teachers - but none of them have any background in education. They majored in business, law, Spanish and psychology. The one who has a Spanish degree doesn't speak Spanish well enough to be any help with translation at parent conferences. Of the others the one who is doing the best was a psychology major. So she has a background in child development. But the others are clueless. Hard working but clueless.

The rest of the staff has spent lots and lots of time helping the TFAs. They needed less help as the year went on, but they still needed a lot more help than other beginning teachers I have worked with. I've been a mentor for about 15 years now and I have to meet weekly with the teachers I mentor and turn in a log of what we discussed. When I look at last year's log, I see a lot of the same topics all new teachers focus on, but many more as well. Since they had no experience in an elementary school setting since being students themselves, we had to talk about lots of basics. Recess supervision, how to organize an awards assembly, what to put on bulletin boards, classroom seating arrangements, grading papers, ---- lots of basics other new teachers have some familiarity with from student teaching and practicum experiences.

District wide, we have lost about 20% of our TFAs who quit either midyear or didn't come back for their second year. I don't know how that compares nationally.


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