Saturday, March 24, 2007

What's Next?

It's hard to believe that my two years as a TFA corps member are almost over. When I decided to apply back in February of 2005 (when I was living in Sardegna) two years seemed like such a long time. (How could I commit to living in the states for two whole years?) Soon after arriving in New York I started thinking that maybe I would teach a third year too. Living in New York City, though not a foreign country, is certainly more exciting than living on a small island--even if that island is in Italy. Now that the two years have flown by, who knows, maybe I'll even start thinking about a fourth.

So, I am definitely committed to staying in New York and teaching next year. There are a lot of reasons teaching another year makes sense. First, I feel like I'm just getting started when it comes to being a good teacher. I still have so much room for improvement in my teaching, I don't want to quit before I have a chance to realize my potential. Also, and I just learned this, I need to teach a third year in order to get my professional teaching certificate. Last, when I finally do decide to get that international school job abroad, I want to have a little bit more experience under my belt.

So where does that leave me for next year? When I switched schools last year I wanted a school that I could stick with for two years. I made the switch and my school is 100% better than my first year and I am a lot happier with my program. Still, things aren't perfect. The administration is terrible. I spent most of the year on what I call "the bad list" though it seems like things have recently turned around and I might just be back on "the good list." The staff is so much better than at my previous school and there are a lot of good teachers here that I can learn from but most of them are talking about "getting out" next year. While my school definitely isn't the worst, I long to work in a school with a supportive environment where the staff works together and teachers rave about the good things going on at their school. (This really happens, I have been to a lot of PDs at schools where this is the case).

Being that it is the end of my two years in TFA, I have started getting a lot of recruitment emails and such from the charter schools. Today I went to a career fair-type event sponsored by TFA that had many charter schools and some public schools there in addition to other non-profits. I didn't see any school that I was totally in love with but a few that I might look into some more. I'm not sure that I want to make the switch to a charter school (partly because I can hardly fathom the hours of their school days. Selfish?) Even so, I think ideally, I'd like to be at a really great public school. And, even if I did find that, I don't know how I feel about working at a third school in three years.

I mentioned to my principal recently that I would really like to teach a self-contained K,1, or 2 class next year (technically out of my license area). She said to put that down on my end of the year preference sheet. If she gave me that, I might be convinced to stay as that is what I've really wanted all along.

In any case, I'm definitely teaching in NYC next year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Noted: Veteran teachers are themselves very scared too as that are being systematically encouraged and forced through intimidation, frame-ups and harassment so that they soon retire. New inexperienced novice teachers are cheaper for the bottom line -its a 2 for 1, even if there is 50% novice turnover each year. It will be some time before you collect the highest salaries later on, then watch your back! Therefore, now the older staff stays low-profiled and prays to survive. It's not helpful to the new teachers, and really having cooperating, seasoned teachers mixed with young eager teachers would be healthier educationally for the students in the long-run. That is what happens when the NYC DOE school system is more a business-model run by non-educators at its top, and teachers and students are mere commodities. Good luck to you