Today @garyrubinstein tweeted a blog post written by a soon to be TFA teacher in Oklahoma about how disappointed s/he is to discover s/he’ll be teaching in a charter school rather than a traditional public school, where s/he assumes all the teachers must be old, jaded, and apathetic. S/he’s afraid s/he won’t be able to make as big a difference in a school s/he assumes is staffed by young, highly energetic kids like her. S/he ends her post by repeating, “It’s not about me; it’s not about me; it’s not about me,” suggesting it is, indeed, all about him/her.
I can’t blame him/her. This is what our popular culture teaches young teachers. It makes me wonder how much truth there is in this article (which I found in a comment on a blog post by Larry Cuban about training for new teachers), which suggests that the maturity level of people in their early twenties (in the early 21st century) should preclude them from going into teaching until later in life. They are still, as the article says, infatuated with themselves – and they are, obviously, incredibly naive when it comes to their understanding for their capacity for teaching and making a difference.
I’ll lastly note that not all young teachers (even among TFAers) are like this. I have a few former students entering TFA this year who are scared to death about what they’re about to face in Baltimore and the Mississippi Delta, and think TFA has thrown them under the bus in many ways. But this Onion piece does a nice job of satirizing the mindset of many young teachers entering tough schools for the first time.