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What Happens To TFAers After Their Commitment Is Over?

Last week I had the chance to meet with three of the four TFA alums who are featured in Donna Foote's new book, Relentless Pursuit, to get an update on what the response to the book has been and how things had gone since then. 

Jun_11_2008_vid000081Asked to reflect on their experience in education, it seemed that their feelings about TFA remained strong, but their feelings about Green Dot had weakened over all, despite a grudging admiration.  They described how TFA was continuing to evolve and make improvements to its efforts. Taylor, the teacher who moved from Locke to a Green Dot school this year, seems particularly concerned that the Green Dot model has lost its parent involvement strengths as it's moved into Watts.  Rachelle is not staying to help open the "new" Locke run by Green Dot next year. 

As for the book itself, I got the strong sense that at first, each of them had struggled with how they were portrayed in the book, which they didn't see until early this year and which collapses an entire year and focuses on what one of them called their most gnarly classes. (The book opens with a power outage during the first week of school and includes a student urinating in class.) Since then, they seem to have come to terms with their portrayals, and see their participation in the process -- letting Foote into their classrooms and debriefing with her after school -- as part of a larger story. 

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These 4 TFA teachers are the best and the brightest college grads who gave their blood, sweat and tears for 3 years to a broken system. They deserve medals for their dedication doing such difficult and stressful work in our inner-city. TFA was a great support along the way, but burn-out is inevitable in this sad setting........

Ms. Rifkin,

If dedicating three years to a broken system by doing such difficult and stressful work in an inner-city makes these TFA teachers worthy of medals, what rewards might career educators deserve?

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