Down to the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 22 2012

This is why I Teach For America

Everyone knows my feelings about TFA, but some days I do feel like I am here doing at least a tiny little bit of good for a very few of my students.

We were discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in class the other day as part of a Hunger Games based conversation about whether or not you can blame people for their actions if that is all they have been taught to do or to think.

I had a girl (I teach 9th grade) raise her hand and say, “Now please don’t laugh at me, but is Israel a real place? I thought it was just something in the bible.”

That is why I Teach For America.

3 Responses

  1. Cal

    Why? Because only TFA candidates tell their students where Israel is?

    The longer you think their ignorance is the result of incompetent teachers, the more useless you’ll be to them.

  2. miriam

    I am neither trying to place blame nor indicate that all my kids are ignorant. I just feel lucky to be part of broadening the horizons of 120 9th grades. Being part of Teach For America has allowed me to do it, and many other teachers who are not part of the organization do the same they. I have the utmost respect for these teachers.

  3. Ms. Math

    My favorite was this conversation with a ninth grader:

    Me: “What is 3 times 7?”
    Student: “Miss, I don’t think that one exists.”

    Also, Cal, saying “this is why I teach for America” doesn’t mean “this is why I teach in TFA as opposed to obtaining certification through some other route.” It just means that we are glad to be trying to do something about this issue. I do agree that it is too easy to blame earlier teachers for students problems, and subsequently not notice that you are essentially doing the same thing with probably the same results. It was easy for me to think that if I just told my kids how to do the math problems they would get it. In fact, they had probably received very similar instruction many times before, and it was dumb to think that they didn’t know it because they had never heard it before.

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