4th January, 2013

NYTimes Admires TFA Would-Be Bankers


The NYTimes recently ran an article admiring the “sacrifices” Teach For America (TFA) teachers who defer careers on Wall Street make, and I’m feeling snarky…

Teach for America also became a sought-after option for students like Eric Rodriguez, who was a senior at Harvard when the financial crisis hit. Mr. Rodriguez had completed two internships at Lehman Brothers and was fully expecting to work at the firm after he graduated. But as he started his senior year in September 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed and Wall Street was in a free fall.

The real victims of the recession: Harvard students.  Poor Eric had to become a temporary teacher instead of working for Lehman Brothers! 

“At Harvard, they harass you: ‘I’m going to be at this place, come meet me,’ ” he said. “It wasn’t until I was desperate that I said ‘I’ll check this out and speak to this person.’ ” In 2009, Mr. Rodriguez joined Teach for America and taught in an elementary school in San Francisco for two years. Afterward, he landed a job at Facebook in its user operations department.

Yeah, because teaching is for the “desperate.”  Also, the fact that he “traded in” his teaching position for a job at Facebook illustrates so many of the problems with TFA.

“It wouldn’t have the same appeal if it were for a longer period of time,” said Kaitlin Gastrock, a spokeswoman for Teach for America. “Two years is a reasonable ask to make of folks who are just finishing up their college experience.”

No, I don’t think two years is reasonable.  Teaching is a CAREER, not a post-college experience.

Teach for America participants receive the same starting salary as first-year teachers in their districts, which is about $25,500 to $51,000 a year. That pales in comparisons to the six-figure salary and bonus structures that many elite college graduates can expect in finance.

I’m not going to applaud some 22-year-old for sacrificing himself for what I consider still a lot of money.  Maybe this should lead to questions about why recent college graduates CAN even expect six-figure salaries in finance, while lifelong teachers cannot…?

Ross Peyser, a 2011 graduate of Cornell and a second-year teacher in New Orleans, was once an intern at Oliver Wyman, a financial services consulting firm. As a teacher, he still plays the role of data analyst, creating Excel spreadsheets to diagnose his students’ learning needs.  At the end of day, he administers a five-question quiz to students to assess who understood the lesson.

I didn’t know that routine checking for understanding (and a five-question, end of the day quiz isn’t particularly innovative) makes a teacher a “data analyst.”

“T.F.A. is a really strong name,” he said. “It seems as if going to work for McKinsey or something like that; they hold the same value.”

I can’t even begin to critique this…

(via PPT)


  1. sogracelessthatway reblogged this from girlwithalessonplan and added:
    This is certainly food for thought.
  2. commaqueen reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach
  3. absurdlyawkward reblogged this from schlingling
  4. mangcau reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach
  5. mcscooterson reblogged this from markct and added:
    If The NYTimes was a person, I would smack them upside the head.
  6. anovemberblue reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach and added:
    Nothing makes me sadder than getting trashed by fellow educators who assume because of some affiliation they know the...
  7. talesofthebandit reblogged this from sinderhella
  8. sinderhella reblogged this from brightbulbsflash
  9. eb-n-flo reblogged this from dangercupcakemurdericing and added:
  10. knlranch reblogged this from think4yourself
  11. happydisolutionment reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach and added:
    I have always found TFA problematic for many reasons. The fact that many people say they do it to be advocates for...
  12. ditlife reblogged this from lessoninteaching and added:
    The NYTimes recently ran an article admiring the “sacrifices” Teach For America (TFA) teachers who defer careers on Wall...
  13. edjumakating reblogged this from girlwithalessonplan and added:
  14. sleepyzaynwinchester reblogged this from lessoninteaching
  15. 8thgradeforever reblogged this from girlwithalessonplan
  16. confusedsciencestudent reblogged this from girlwithalessonplan
  17. eyesopendreamin reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach
  18. brightbulbsflash reblogged this from dangercupcakemurdericing and added:
    There are so many issues here. I won’t even get up on my AmeriCorps alum soap box…
  19. arjusexy reblogged this from lessoninteaching
  20. therealdjlance reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach and added:
    ^^^^ THIS. “…faster than you can say Michelle Rhee.” My personal favorite touch.
  21. cmyers reblogged this from positivelypersistentteach