October 17th, 2008

Paul Vallas in New Orleans
Episode 7 - Teachers Learn the Ropes

This program was made by possible by support from the Annenberg, The Eli and Edythe Broad, Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett and Wallace Foundations.

Emerging from hurricane season unscathed and emboldened by increased test scores, Paul Vallas and his Recovery School District have started the year in high spirits.

Starting school with a little more trepidation are first-time teachers from Teach For America – an organization that drafts top college graduates, provides 8 weeks of training, and sends them in to teaching in some of the nation’s most troubled schools.

Superintendent Vallas is a big proponent of this short-term injection of talent (the TFA Corp members only have a 2 year commitment) but others argue that 8 weeks of training isn’t enough to prepare teachers for the uphill battle they face–and that by the time they have gained their footing, their commitment is over.

In this episode, we follow several Teach for America teachers as they experience their first few days in the classroom. How will they cope with their first job teaching in New Orleans’ worst performing schools?

(Originally aired October 17, 2008)

Download transcript (pdf)

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