Social media is opening up a whole new world for those who lack access to the mass media.
In the mass media, we hear of great miracles.
Via social media, we learn the inside scoop.
This blog has a stunning story to tell about the experience of those who enter the New York City Teaching Fellows program.
It tells of idealistic and hopeful recruits who feel they are being used as cannon fodder: poorly trained and sent into some of the city’s toughest schools.
This is how the program begins: “We spent the summer drilling Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion classroom management techniques. It was eerily similar to basic training–been there, low-crawled under that–and at times had the haunting dehumanized uniformity reminiscent of a Handmaid’s Tale. Meanwhile, many of us were grounded in our ideals of sharing our passion for learning, social justice, and community service. We knew as the summer training program unfolded that it was grossly inadequate and ill-conceived. This became ever more apparent when summer school began and we found ourselves utterly ill-equipped to properly care for our students’ intellectual and socio-emotional needs. However, ours was a tenacious bunch–seasoned overachievers who had long ago developed the stamina and fortitude to forgo sleep and self-care in order to reach a determined goal, no matter how distant.”
When our Teaching Fellow gets a letter from Chancellor Walcott thanking him for his service, he writes: “Well, you’re welcome Mr. Walcott. And thank you for supporting a program that sets interested-in-becoming-teachers and their students–who attend the least-resourced and highest-needs schools–up for failure. It’s heart-warming to know that you were once a kindergarten teacher and that you “understand” how difficult the first year teaching is…but nonetheless you support a program that is at its core unjust.”
The teacher asks whether this is a “just and effective program.”
We are left to wonder why our nation’s leaders think it is a great idea to send poorly trained people to teach the neediest students and why they care so little about supporting and retaining experienced teachers.