Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nixing My Backup Plan

Well, looks like my backup plan for after graduation is a big, fat NO. I want to apply to Teach for America. For those who don't know what that is, it's like the movie Freedom Writers. Basically, I want to move to the inner-city (ideally in Phoenix, AZ) and teach at a disadvantaged school. Since TFA is such a prestigious program, I was looking into a backup plan. I'd certainly apply to both programs, and TFA is my top choice, but I just wanted to make sure I had somewhere to go in case I don't get in.

So, I found this pretty awesome program called Association for Catholic Educators, and it sounded perfect. It's just like TFA, but you teach at a Catholic school (which is absolutely perfect for me). So, intrigued by the program, I decided to request some information and got in touch with one of the directors.

This morning, I had a nice little telephone chat with the director, and found out some rather upsetting news. First of all, you can't pick your location. Meaning, I could maybe get stationed in Phoenix, or I could get somewhere like the Mississippi Delta (in the middle of nowhere). I'm a city girl, I go crazy even living in the suburbs where I am now, I need somewhere big and exciting like the city to keep me entertained. I definitely was deterred by finding this out, but I figured that I could easily get past that if that was the only drawback to the program.

Unfortunately, things quickly went from bad to worse. ACE is a teacher certification program as well. Meaning, after studying at school for four years to teach middle and high school history and social studies, that is NOT what I would teach with ACE. I would spend the summer before leaving in a whirlwind certification program for elementary education. That's right, instead of utilizing what skills I have, they're going to make me learn all new ones and then spend two years of my life teaching exactly what I don't. They might as well tell me I'll be teaching high school math!

It really doesn't make sense to run a program like this. I mean, you're basically deterring real teachers from joining the program. Instead, all you're going to get is college graduates who are not certified in teaching before, haven't studied it at all, have no classroom management skills and don't know how to plan a lesson, recognize the plethora of emotional issues that come with students in schools like this, but rather people who think they can handle this sort of class without even having set foot in a classroom before this. In my personal opinion, they are just setting themselves up for disaster in the classroom since actual teachers are discouraged since they can't teach what they spent four years of their lives studying for.

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