January 12th, 2010

The Real World of Teach for America
Lindsay Ordower - "The Go Getter"

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“The Go Getter”

Meet Lindsay Ordower from Mount Holyoke College. She came to Teach for America determined to succeed. But on any given school day, Lindsay’s classroom was only half full. How do you teach students that aren’t there?

This video is part of our series following the day in the life of a Teach for America recruit. Watch the entire series here and weigh in with your comments.

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TFA, and programs like it, save a few kids. Perhaps that is all our society cares about. Until the out-of-school factors that influence motivation and achievement are dealt with, schools can never succeed.

I teach in a district that relies on many TFA corp members to fill what might otherwise be tough to fill positions. On the one hand it is helpful to have a teacher there, even if that teacher is a novice who does not know much about the culture of the students, and has had minimal preparation. On the other hand, after three years only about 50% of these interns remain, so the turnover rate is very high. I wish we could deal with our high turnover rate in a better way, because I think our students deserve a stable force of teachers.

Sending overqualified, idealistic teachers with a limited commitment to a devastated community and a limited understanding of the student…. is just ludicrous. Then assigning her test-prep objective with 8 weeks of training..can leave most children behind and can only be conceived as a result notion originating from an Ivory Tower with Foundation support.
Maybe the Foundations should support Social Workers for a America first, and have teachers ready to prepare students for college and/or careers when students show up.
In this situation,the outreach to the parents and job training for them should be a priority.
Where is the coordination of social services for the sleeping homeless kid listening to the first law of thermodynamics?…. I see that no reaction caused and equal and opposite rejection of any learning objective.

First this problem is the result of social neglect and we think that we can buy our way out with Foundation grants from the”Educational Industrial Complex”
Start the kids with alternative weeks of a rigorous work-based learning internships and applied learning standards.

I like Lindsey here is a piece of what I wrote about her exp. on my blog http://www.tfaadventure.com
She connected with them by doing a failed activity of identifying who the students were “tight with”. While trying to interact with her students regarding the New Orleans Saints, Lindsay at least opened the door to respect for student individuality. Student attendance was a major obstacle to success in Lindsay’s science classroom but it didn’t seem to bother her. She didn’t flip out by trying to control the students by punishment, yelling, or calling the assistant principal. Quite candidly she stated that one of her students was homeless and pushing the heavy hand of order wasn’t going to make his situation any better.

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