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Teaching Fellows or the Teaching Fellows?

June 10, 2008 pm30 4:10 pm

There’s a difference, of course. (Previous, related posts 1, 2, 3)

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

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.

jd2718, who knows there are only two sides, and whoever’s not on one, is on the other.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa Martin permalink
    June 24, 2008 am30 1:45 am 1:45 am

    This is enlightening. Wish I could learn more about fellows’ rights, as a “friend” of mine just received notice of termination with right to review due to excessive number of absences. Seems the powers that be would not count her doctor’s notices for sick days or her 2 days off to get married, as ‘excused’ days. Now, after 2 years of dedicated teaching, with over and above service in areas of school yearbook and art for disabled kids, she risks losing all opportunity to teach. Any ideas on this one??

  2. avoicein permalink
    June 28, 2008 am30 5:38 am 5:38 am

    Chancellor Klein has proposed cutting funding to the Felllows program. Do you know how much of the funding comes from the city?

  3. September 2, 2008 pm30 7:10 pm 7:10 pm

    The Teaching Fellows program was created by the city, and though it relies on some philanthropy, it mostly receives funding from the DOE.


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