Teaching Fellows or the Teaching Fellows?
From the comments on a recent post:
I’d differentiate a stance towards the policy … from a stance towards the fellows themselves. Once they’re in the building, they’re colleagues and team members.
I’m a teaching fellow, but I see where you’re coming from…
The problem is not the teaching fellows–it is the way the administration treats some like gods.
The Teaching Fellows
The Teaching Fellows is a privately-run program that recruits new teachers in New York. It trades a reduced-cost masters degree for a short commitment to teach in the city. By intentionally recruiting candidates who are whiter and better educated than typical NYC teachers, usually with career aspirations outside teaching, less likely to have ties to New York City, The Teaching Fellows promotes 1) divisions between teachers and 2) rapid turnover.
The Teaching Fellows is an opponent, an obstacle to improving public education in NYC, and an agent of destructive change.
Teaching Fellows are the people The Teaching Fellows recruits. They tend to be young, white, often with career aspirations outside of teaching, and not necessarily with much of a connection to New York. But they are teachers.
Teaching Fellows often are smug. Know-it-alls. AP’s pets. They are also pushed around by administrators. Don’t know their rights. Feel it is beneath them to exercise their rights.
Teaching Fellows are more likely than other teachers to harbor anti-union animus. But Teaching Fellows are also ATRs. Teaching Fellows get U’ed. Fellows get abused by administrators, and are afraid to complain. Fellows sometimes get to termination hearings, but more resign before it gets to that point.
The Fellows vs Fellows
Teaching Fellows also get abused by The Teaching Fellows. The program is badly run, makes arbitrary and capricious decisions, fails to provide complete or timely information. The program sets up impossible requirements and schedules. And, Teaching Fellows certification is contingent on remaining part of an alternate certification program (The Teaching Fellows), so they are uniquely vulnerable both to the mood of their Principal, but also to the arbitrary discipline of the program. If The Teaching Fellows drops a Teaching Fellow, that fellow loses certification.
Treating Fellows like any other new teachers, and not like pariahs is a beginning. But that’s not enough. More posts coming.