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What Kind of Recruitment for NYC Public School Teachers?

June 3, 2008 am30 7:44 am

I was on the campus where I adjunct after graduation. I heard “hello, jd!” and turned to see a former student , berobed (?) bedecked (?) seated among a group of people without regalia. I walked over and was quickly introduced to Rosa’s husband, kids, siblings, and mother. I congratulated each, and asked Rosa about her plans. I knew she intended to teach, but would she start in September?

Rosa’s about 40, New York Puerto Rican, works on campus (service job of some sort). She’s the last person that TFA or the Teaching Fellows would take, and for good reason.

So I ask, and she tells me. She’s just earned the BA, but is getting the masters before she starts teaching. ESL, or if the credits don’t work, or the certification gets snagged, Spanish.

Rosa wasn’t a great student, math didn’t come easy. But she worked at it, got better, came for help when she had to. She was also pleasant, didn’t get frustrated, and was quick with a smile or a thank you. She passed the course just fine, and then passed two more. Same thing, each time, she struggled, she worked, she passed.

She’s already got the LAST (NY general knowledge test for teachers), but there are other requirements she hasn’t yet met. She’s got a timetable laid out – she’ll start teaching in September 2010, fully certified.

Think about that. Wants to teach. Ties to the City. Willing to patiently meet requirements, even though she sees others getting into schools faster. She plans to make a career of this, right? Not 2 years and out, 3 years and out. Something could go wrong, but her mindset is clearly directed to the next 15, 20, 25 years.

Teaching Fellows often have degrees from fancier colleges. TFA? Forget about it. But does that trump dedication and experience? That stupid NC study says yes, but barely. The study is wrong.

Rosa has a good chance to get to know her school, well. She will have senior teachers as resources for her, and she herself will become a resource for newer teachers. She’ll know her way around the building, know which APs to avoid, know which secretaries can help get things done faster. And she’ll know the other teachers. And she’ll know the kids.

For four years that a kid is in high school, wouldn’t it be nice if that kid could see, more or less, most of the same teachers each year? With Rosa, they might… What’s that worth?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Nathan permalink
    June 3, 2008 pm30 4:27 pm 4:27 pm

    I’m a long time reader of your blog and I didn’t realize you also adjunct. Is this a “Math for Teachers” kind of course?

  2. June 3, 2008 pm30 4:50 pm 4:50 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. You are right- the goal should be to get teachers who will stay longer than 2-3 years. I was a Teaching fellow but I knew going into it that it would be for me. a life-long commitment. I wanted top give back to my community- raised in the Bronx, and I wanted my students to see that someone from their community could be a role model without playing sports or coming out with a overly-produced music album.

    We need teachers like Rosa. We need teachers who are committed and not just trying to get to a better place.

  3. June 6, 2008 am30 5:09 am 5:09 am


    Too bad Randi doesn’t see it the same way. Retention over recruitment.

    I do believe we may set a new record of over 5,000 teachers resigning by September of 2008.

  4. June 9, 2008 am30 6:04 am 6:04 am


    I’ve been adjuncting for about 7 years. I mostly teach “college algebra” but also remedial courses. In past years I taught pre-service Teaching Fellows (see this Math Camp post), and a methods course to newer teachers. I may do that again next year.

    “Long time reader,” huh? I like the sound of that!


  1. Recruiting Teaching Fellows « JD2718
  2. jd2718 on Teaching Fellows « JD2718

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