Five weeks of training in the summer isn’t enough to prep college graduates for teaching, say some Teach for America veterans. Now TFA is launching a year-long training program for college students who want to teach, reports the Washington Post.
In addition to classroom experience, the pilot program will include classes in educational theory and pedagogy.
“With this extra pre-service year, we’ll give them more time to absorb the foundational knowledge all teachers need, more space to reflect on the role they are about to step into, and more time to directly practice the skills they’ll need as educators – skills like delivering a lesson or managing a classroom,” Matt Kramer, the co-CEO, told a TFA gathering in Nashville.
The five-week training program pumps up recruits’ egoes, but doesn’t prepare them to teach in high-need schools, wrote Olivia Blanchard in an Atlantic essay. A 2011 TFA recruit, Blanchard quit after a year at an Atlanta public school.
I was immersed in a sea of jargon, buzzwords, and touchy-feely exercises.
. . . Typical instructional training included only the most basic framework; one guide to introducing new material told us to “emphasize key points, command student attention, actively involve students, and check for understanding.” We were told that “uncommon techniques” included “setting high academic expectations, structuring and delivering your lessons, engaging students in your lessons, communicating high behavioral expectations, and building character and trust.” Specific tips included “you provide the answer; the student repeats the answer”; “ask students to make an exact replica in their notes of what you write on the board”; and “respond quickly to misunderstandings.”
TFA will continue to ask recruits for a two-year commitment, but Kramer said corps members will be “encouraged” to stay in the classroom longer.