The author of this email requested anonymity, for obvious reasons.


I started reading your blog recently and it has been a lifesaver. I was a participant in the (as I learned) corporate-reform-driven Teaching Fellows program in XXXXX, and I was cut at the end of the their pre-service training.

This was, as it turned out, a good thing, since I wasn’t ready to teach (nor was anyone in the program, if the current experiences of my friends who continued in the program count for anything); I was unwilling to continue using the required behaviorist, authoritarian classroom management methods and scripted lesson plans; and I discovered that the principal that hired me had a policy of hiring only TFA and TNTP participants for the ‘core’ academic subjects.

In the process of making sense of my strange experience, I decided to read Wendy Kopp’s original thesis on her idea for a ‘Teacher Corps.’ In some ways, the original idea is very different from what it is today — she envisioned that corps members would only teach in districts experiencing shortages of fully-certified teachers (and only in high schools — there is no mention whatsoever of charter schools).

In other ways, not so different: “Like the Peace Corps did in its early days, the Teacher Corps will create a level of spirit and mystique which would rival the hype that currently lures so many who have undefined career plans into investment banking!”

But what struck me most was the advice given to Wendy Kopp by the president of the NEA, to whom she wrote about her idea of a teacher corps: “We feel strongly that the core of this Nation’s commitment to education must flow from fully prepared, career focused, and professionally oriented persons. Even a suggestion that acceptable levels of expertise could develop in short termers simply doesn’t mesh with what those of us in the business know it takes to do the job–much less with what our young people need and deserve….We certainly wish you the very best with your idea and hope you choose to devote your energies to a career in teaching. There are few more satisfying or challenging professions you could elect.”

Thanks again for your blog, and I hope I will be able to write to you in the not-so-distant future that I am teaching math, fully certified through a real teacher preparation program.