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TFA Harder To Get Into Then Law School!  
User currently offlinemarsciguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 549 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3601 times:

This surprised, and intrigued me...

Permalink: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/12/education/12winerip.html

I think this is a great development, though at the same time (in a much more selfish way) hope that it doesn't mean my getting a teaching job in a year will be as hard as getting into law school!!

(I do realize having a teaching certification that requires 2 years of classes and in-school experience will more then likely bum,p me ahead of those who have had several weeks of schooling in the summer and no prior education in education...


"There weren't a ton of gnats there where a ton of gnats and their families as well!"
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCorey07850 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2525 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (4 years 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3581 times:

I know a teacher in the program here in Hartford and listening to the difference they make to the inner-city students is outstanding. The students are learning to read 2 years ahead of their current level and in general just love going to school to learn. Great program

User currently offlinemarsciguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 549 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (4 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3568 times:

Quoting Corey07850 (Reply 1):
I know a teacher in the program here in Hartford and listening to the difference they make to the inner-city students is outstanding. The students are learning to read 2 years ahead of their current level and in general just love going to school to learn. Great program

      Having volunteered in inner city Providence schools as part of my program, I can attest to anything that can be done to assist inner city students is a terrific thing!



"There weren't a ton of gnats there where a ton of gnats and their families as well!"
User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3867 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (4 years 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3532 times:

Quoting marsciguy (Thread starter):
I think this is a great development, though at the same time (in a much more selfish way) hope that it doesn't mean my getting a teaching job in a year will be as hard as getting into law school!!

Not necessarily (in regards to it being a great development)--as a recent fellow grad of one of the profiled schools,the influx in applications has as much to do with the appearance of prestige and resume building, if not more so, than with actual interest in education.

In terms of classmates/friends who pursued TFA, it was about a 50/50 split between those who were passionate about education and who wanted to pursue teaching as a lifelong career (or at least thought they did), and those who went after TFA because it looked good on their resume, and they saw it as an alternative to investment banking/consulting/law school--and knew how to fake an interest enough to fool recruiters.

I have no problem with the former group of people (a group that, because of your background, you fall into). I have a problem, however, with the latter group, simply because I was aware of too many circumstances where resume-padders and people only looking for a two-year gig were picked over friends and classmates who belonged to the former group.

Some of that has to do with the recruiting process of TFA--they aren't necessarily interested in people who want to be lifelong teachers--they want future policy makers and politicos. Don't kid yourself--the program isn't like the U.S. Peace Corps, but only in urban U.S. areas--it's a private non-profit that has a political slant and an ideological goal in mind.

I also have to question the effectiveness of the program--what these low-income areas need aren't people who come in, do their time, and then leave after two years--they need teachers who are willing to make a life-long commitment to serve as a bedrock for that community--as some of these students in need lack mentoring figures--which is a crucial part of teaching.

What the article also fails to mention in its rose-colored portrayal of TFA (and something supporting my view that TFA is an overhyped organization that attracts self-serving individuals as much as it does kids honestly interested in making a lifelong commitment to public education) is that their are a fair amount of investment banks and consulting firms that sign kids to contracts, but allow them to defer for two years while they do TFA.


User currently offlinemarsciguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 549 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3438 times:

Quoting us330 (Reply 3):
I have no problem with the former group of people (a group that, because of your background, you fall into). I have a problem, however, with the latter group, simply because I was aware of too many circumstances where resume-padders and people only looking for a two-year gig were picked over friends and classmates who belonged to the former group.

Thanks! I can't tolerate the latter group you describe either....unfortunately those trying to pad the resume for that sake alone exist in all fields, though those following that path into teaching probably cause more harm to the communities they are (temporarily) serving then in other fields (by continuing the cycle of adults only staying for a couple of years as mentors to children needing more permanent mentors).



"There weren't a ton of gnats there where a ton of gnats and their families as well!"
User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3524 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (4 years 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3412 times:

TFA fulfills a great need, but their organization is a bit suspect, to me at least.

When I was in graduate school, I fielded numerous e-mails and phone calls from about 3 different TFA recruiters who told me in no uncertain terms that I'd be a perfect candidate because of my background as a journalist and a teaching assistant (the journalism program at the University of Iowa delivered lots of students to TFA before and after I was there). So I took the time to apply and sent in all my stuff on time ... then received a generic e-mail rejection letter a week later.

I figured the recruiters talked a good game because they were just trying to get as many apps in as possible, but other than the time I spent to compile the application and the slight ego hit from a generic e-mail rejection, I wasn't really out anything or otherwise upset.

But only a few days after I received the rejection, I received another e-mail from a TFA recruiter who again strongly urged me to apply because I'm "exactly what TFA was looking for." I responded to him with my e-mail rejection, and he replied to me saying he was supremely embarrassed (he actually used the phrase "I feel like a huge jerk," haha).

I followed up and asked why I was rejected outright in the first round (I mean, I had been teaching at the college level for almost two years as a TA, and had experience flight instructing during undergrad, so I was probably more qualified on paper to teach than some of their other applicants), but never received a response. Perhaps my essay on Jonathan Kozol's book Savage Inequalities wasn't up to snuff or something, but still, the whole experience was perplexing.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineOAKBWIfella From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 48 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3379 times:

Quoting planespotting (Reply 5):
TFA fulfills a great need, but their organization is a bit suspect, to me at least.

I had an eerily similar experience...I was referred to apply to TFA from a teacher at the school I work at. I've got an engineering degree, a master's in education administration, and I had teaching experience. Plus, I specifically asked to teach math in an urban classroom, so the TFA teacher said I would be a great match and helped guide me through the application process.

I did the application, got the recommendation letters from teachers, and had a veteran teacher show me some new teaching methodologies that they use in high-need classrooms. I went through the entire interview process and had my sample lesson plan aligned to CA state math standards. I think my problem was, in the personal interview, that I told the interviewer I wanted to stay in the classroom and teach, rather than get out and advance into administration.

I got my rejection e-mail two weeks later, and I didn't even bother to ask why (the e-mail said they wouldn't give specific examples). The principal at my school was livid; she had referred at least 5 good candidates to TFA, and they were all rejected. Most of her candidates were UC Berkeley grads studying teaching or public policy.

For me, it doesn't really matter now...I got into another credentialing program in CA that was ready and willing to help me become a teacher (and is held in higher regard than TFA in many districts out here). When I told them my background and desire, and showed them my aligned sample lesson, they accepted me immediately. I now refer teaching candidates to my program, rather than go through the TFA experience.



Clear for Takeoff RWY 29 contact NORCAL departure
User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3867 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (4 years 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3368 times:

Quoting OAKBWIfella (Reply 6):
I think my problem was, in the personal interview, that I told the interviewer I wanted to stay in the classroom and teach, rather than get out and advance into administration.

You are probably right--look at what some of the kids interviewed in that article are doing--a fair chunk of them are going off to law school, and from personal experience of meeting fellow admits at law school receptions (i'm headed to law school this fall), a decent chunk do the undergrad-tfa-law school--which is what TFA wants.

I've read several interviews, from a variety of sources, of Wendy Kopp, the founder of the program, and every time she comes across as one of those self-satisfied bleeding heart do-gooders who have to stick to a plan because it is their plan, even if it is isn't achieving its goals, and constantly tows a certain line, even if the reality of the program doesn't match that line. In short, she reminds me of your average investment bank/consulting firm HR director.


User currently offlineOA412 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 5232 posts, RR: 25
Reply 8, posted (4 years 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3353 times:

Quoting us330 (Reply 3):
as a recent fellow grad of one of the profiled schools,the influx in applications has as much to do with the appearance of prestige and resume building, if not more so, than with actual interest in education.
Quoting us330 (Reply 7):
You are probably right--look at what some of the kids interviewed in that article are doing--a fair chunk of them are going off to law school, and from personal experience of meeting fellow admits at law school receptions (i'm headed to law school this fall), a decent chunk do the undergrad-tfa-law school--which is what TFA wants.

I too have noticed this trend. A lot of people are just using TFA to pad their resumes in order to look good to Law Schools, other graduate schools, employers, etc. People should volunteer and get involved in things like TFA because they want to help out and "make a difference", not in order to look good to a Law School. I'm sure that Law School's are well aware that the motivations of most of their applicants with TFA on their resume are not entirely altruistic, but given the ever increasing number of people applying to those schools, they are able to decide between two applicants with similar numbers based on such "soft" factors.

At the end of the day, I agree with your sentiment. I find it unfortunate that there are plenty of well qualified, and well motivated applicants to TFA who are being denied spots in the program due to people simply looking to pad their resumes. In the end, qualified applicants suffer, the program suffers, and the children who end up with someone just looking at this as a springboard to Law School suffer.



Hughes Airwest - Top Banana In The West
User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3867 posts, RR: 14
Reply 9, posted (4 years 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3327 times:

Quoting OA412 (Reply 8):
I'm sure that Law School's are well aware that the motivations of most of their applicants with TFA on their resume are not entirely altruistic, but given the ever increasing number of people applying to those schools, they are able to decide between two applicants with similar numbers based on such "soft" factors.

Well, here's the where the TFA prestige factor comes in--it looks an awfully lot more prestigious to have taught for TFA than going abroad and teaching english (something that any native speaker of english can do, provided that they have enough money for a plane ticket)--which means that law schools actually are rewarding such behavior.

Traditionally, law schools have waived application fees for peace corps volunteers (which is fine and something that I have no problem with). Now, some are starting to waive application fees for TFA members as well, and specifically advertise that on their admissions sites--and it's not just the lower tier law schools--it's the top tier law schools as well (Penn, ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News, for example).

I'm not against the application fee waiver--I just resent that TFA is being looked at as an urban equivalent to the Peace Corps, a popular misconception that many people believe--and one that TFA does nothing to dispell.


User currently offlineOA412 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 5232 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (4 years 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3326 times:

Quoting us330 (Reply 9):
Traditionally, law schools have waived application fees for peace corps volunteers (which is fine and something that I have no problem with). Now, some are starting to waive application fees for TFA members as well, and specifically advertise that on their admissions sites--and it's not just the lower tier law schools--it's the top tier law schools as well (Penn, ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News, for example).

Interesting! I had no idea that they were doing this and agree that it shouldn't be done. You're going to find far, far fewer people joining Peace Corps solely to bolster their resumes given the fact that you must uproot and move to a developing country. TFA is good experience, and you cannot really punish those who joined with good intentions due to those who join just to look better to Law Schools, etc., but at the same time, it's not even remotely in the same league as Peace Corps.



Hughes Airwest - Top Banana In The West
User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3867 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (4 years 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 3322 times:

Quoting OA412 (Reply 10):
I had no idea that they were doing this and agree that it shouldn't be done

They waive application fees all the time, and for a variety of reasons. I was offered plenty just for scoring high enough on the LSAT so that some schools could boost their admissions profiles.

It does testify, though, to the success Kopp has had in her marketing and promotional ability.


User currently offlinepliersinsight From United States of America, joined May 2008, 489 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3308 times:

Let's get real about law school folks:

I went to law school, not as good a school as my undergrad, but I went. Today, I am an attorney and have been in business for 7 years. I would discourage anyone from becoming a lawyer. Getting in to law school is no big deal and comparing anything to getting into law school would be, well, weak. Bad comparison, here is why:

Day 1 of law school: "Welcome. Look at the people to your left and look to your right. Chances are, after your first year, you won't see these people anymore." Try after the first semester. Oh and everyone what was on a full ride in my section...GONE after the first year.

Day 2 through 6: Everyone including the faculty, sans yous truly, pretended that this was nothing more than scenes from the paper chase.

DAY 7 of law school: Ten less people are in my class.

DAY 8 through end of the first year: Twenty more people left, wise moves, everyone freaked out about everything, I drank a lot and flew over to Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam to get away from these weirdos.

Second year: I don't remember anything except for the parties. I worked 35 hours a week to have the funds to party properly: Premium spirits, trips to NYC.

Third year: Didn't go much, class size fell to 50% of what it was on day 1. 45% of those starting, including me by luck, graduated.

Of the 45% that graduates, less than half practice because they couldn't cut it. Most sell insurance or work for banks. *yawn* There are too many lawyers and not enough clients, every day is a fight. Some work for big firms, make six figures, but have no time to enjoy it. *double yawn*

Me, well, I do just fine, flying a nice 172SP with the G-1000 whenever I like and just running my own shop. But law school being distinguished, selective, important? NOT A CHANCE. Every case I've settled, every verdict won or lost, every pile of case made or spent was not the result of anything learned in law school, except that you just have to outlast everyone......and that lesson I learned long before law school......

A teaching school should be more selctive than a law school, because they let any old punk in there. To lawyer is to pick the crumbs of bread from hardened concrete with your knuckles to reward those less than deserving, to teach is to inspire the hungry to feast upon knowledge. Teaching is far, far above law school. The comparison is a 172 to a G-V.


User currently offlineus330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3867 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (4 years 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3298 times:

Quoting pliersinsight (Reply 12):
I went to law school, not as good a school as my undergrad, but I went. Today, I am an attorney and have been in business for 7 years. I would discourage anyone from becoming a lawyer

Where did you go and why the discouragement?

Quoting pliersinsight (Reply 12):
A teaching school should be more selctive than a law school, because they let any old punk in there.

TFA isn't a teaching school.


User currently offlinepliersinsight From United States of America, joined May 2008, 489 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3270 times:

Quoting us330 (Reply 13):
Where did you go and why the discouragement?



Let me put it this way. When you go to college and grad school, you expect that when dealing with educated people they will act in an educated manner. Everyone has their motives...from coming to law school to find a spouse to doing it because of their parent's trust fund requirements. The worst people are those that think they are going to be wild rich as a result of earning a law degree and make six figures right out of law school. At the end of the day, few act with civility, class or are representative of the diplomas on the wall because they have an instant sense of entitlement and for going to be rich, not because they like it. The dark side of human nature shows well. Now, I'm not claiming to be a victim of such behaviour, because I could care less that Joe Blow didn't share class notes with me or Sally Sucka didn't invite me to her study group, I watched that stuff go down while I juggled individual study time with work and partying. But people in law school actually care and get bent over that kind of stuff. What babies, morons and jerks. Those same vectives are now selling insurance or sitting at home, "victims" of the economy, crying that their law degree didn't get them six figures out the door.

I'm not discouraged with the practice of law insomuch as it affords me a lifestyle beyond compare in terms of my work hours and income, as I am in a rare situation where I do okay and don't have to be at my office a lot. My situation is atypical, however I had to make it for myself. People in law school, they never get that, and still sometimes don't get it 5 or 10 years later. Perhaps an innate sense of entitlement isn't just a law student thing, but a societal thing in America. I'm not quite sure...but at the end of line I may have some regrets that I never did anything like the peace corps, TFA or military service. Based on what you guys are saying about people just doing it to bolster their street cred I may have been equally disappointed as my law school experience. When you pick something to do, you have to do it because you want to do it, you believe in it, not just to get rich and look good. Otherwise, you will never truly succeed, and it will show.

Quoting us330 (Reply 13):
TFA isn't a teaching school.



Program. My bad, it was late last night.


User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15719 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3269 times:

Quoting OA412 (Reply 8):
I too have noticed this trend. A lot of people are just using TFA to pad their resumes in order to look good to Law Schools, other graduate schools, employers, etc

Why is that bad? I can tell you right now that padding a resume is the only reason (besides money) that I would go spend two years in some ghetto school. Schools need teachers, and the teachers want it to show up on the resume. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
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