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Updated: World Premier of Short Film: @TeachforAmerica – Passion vs. Preparedness

Today Cloaking Inequity is hosting the world premier of a new short film about Teach For America entitled Teach for America – Passion vs. Preparedness. This film was made by Texas filmmaker Julia Duke. She presents a balanced perspective with two critiques and two supporters. The film begins with a critique of Teach For America. It then integrates the perspectives of an Austin Teach For America recruiter and a former TFA corps member who now teaches at the KIPP charter school in Austin. The story then integrates Elle Chernosky’s perspective about her recent Teach For America experience teaching in KIPP San Antonio. You have most likely seen the Teach For America promotional and marketing materials over the years with corps member extolling the virtues of a short term teaching stint… But have you ever seen a film with the experiences and critiques from a TFA corps member? I think this may be the first time that a film has included a critical perspective about Teach For America. Let me know what you think about the film. Tweet to me at @ProfessorJVH.

Updated: 3/24/15 Teach For America’s lawyers threatened to take legal action against the Director and the film had to be taken down.

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Teach For America click here.

If you have a moment, check out Is @TeachForAmerica Cloaking Inequity?: Discussing the Headwind

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Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

Click here for Vitae.

Please blame Teach For America for any typos.

Interested in joining us in the sunny capitol of California and obtaining your Doctorate in Educational Leadership from California State University Sacramento? Apply by March 1. Go here.

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About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (700 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

4 Comments on Updated: World Premier of Short Film: @TeachforAmerica – Passion vs. Preparedness

  1. I work with new teachers as an instructional coach and they struggle with the same unpreparedness that the Teach for America teachers discuss struggling with – late nights studying the curriculum because they haven’t done that type of math (or writing, or social studies, or science) before, dealing with the realities of discipline and young peoples’ lives, being overwhelmed with the challenge of motivating kids to do their best, etc. These aren’t struggles that are unique to Teach for America. Teach for America teachers, in my experience, put more pressure on themselves to rise fast. They don’t have the same long-term vision as a typical teacher, which raises the sense of urgency (often a positive) and often the burn-out factor (a negative). Based on the points made in this video, it seems like make a case for all teacher preparedness programs. Teaching is hard. Period.

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  2. You have to have balance in your life, or a career in teaching is unsustainable. Especially in the title one schools. You will not save the world. Yes I care, deeply. But not at the cost of my sanity.

    The classrooms full of smiling, compliant children in that film are NOT reality. Nothing is worse than a sullen, uncooperative student. Smiles and high fives won’t do the trick. And there is nothing like teaching a classroom with students reading above their grade level, and students 4 and 5 grade levels below. Try keeping those balls in the air.

    Like

  3. I’m sorry, but the takeaway message from that film is that teachers just need to be passionate, and therefore if teachers start in TFA that’s just fine. Frankly, it looked like TFA made a recruitment video and threw Ellie in there just to make the TFA true believer teachers look tougher. There was virtually nothing in the film that expanded on Julian’s points. No mention of HOW poverty impacts education. Instead, it was just more myth promotion. One of the last quotes is the female TFA true believer saying, “(educational inequity) is a solvable problem, and we’re seeing gains and we’re seeing that it is possible for students to achieve.” And then her quote is immediately followed up by the male TFA saying, “I think they just need passionate teachers.” Yep. Passionate teachers (especially passionate TFA teachers) can overcome anything. In fact, the very last quote “my definition of a good teacher is someone who fundamentally believers in the ability that all kids can achieve what they want to achieve…” continues to promotes TFA’s oversimplified (but nice sounding) we just need to have high expectations to realize educational equity. Two thumbs down.

    Like

  4. I’m sorry, but the takeaway message from that film is that teachers just need to be passionate, and therefore if teachers start in TFA that’s just fine. Frankly, it looked like TFA made a recruitment video and threw Ellie in there just to make the TFA true believer teachers look tougher. There was virtually nothing in the film that expanded on Julian’s points. No mention of HOW poverty impacts education. Instead, it was just more myth promotion. One of the last quotes is the female TFA true believer saying, “(educational inequity) is a solvable problem, and we’re seeing gains and we’re seeing that it is possible for students to achieve.” And then her quote is immediately followed up by the male TFA saying, “I think they just need passionate teachers.” Yep. Passionate teachers (especially passionate TFA teachers) can overcome anything. In fact, the very last quote “my definition of a good teacher is someone who fundamentally believers in the ability that all kids can achieve what they want to achieve…” continues to promotes TFA’s oversimplified (but nice sounding) we just need to have high expectations to realize educational equity. Two thumbs down.

    Like

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