Sunday, September 25, 2005

"Your/our success"

The newspapers are coming calling again, last time with a mixed focus feature on how our "gang school" has pushed back the gangs (we took control, took a hard-line, and made it extremely clear that academic success was the sunnom bonnum) as well as our "baby-faced" principal with the "boom[ing] voice." Good stuff. Now it's a proposed article -- from the same editor that brought us the previously discussed artitorial on KIPP -- about TFA's role in our success.

I have reservations about how the story will be presented, but in a head's up email the Executive Director of our TFA Region discussed "your" (TFA teachers at our school) / "our" (TFA coporate/ TFA Bay Area) success. My immediate reaction was "fuck off." I worked for this with all my amazingly talented non-TFA colleagues, I developed professionally, I taught my ass off, and what the hell does that have to do with you, raising money from your loft-office in Emeryville and drooling everytime another TFA alum gets involved in a leadership position at a charter school.

As time passes, I'm backing off the initial stance; I suppose TFA has some right to claim the success of its teachers. They did recruit, train, and place them. They have no right however, to claim the success of our school as a whole -- it's too big for them. Too much happened that had nothing to do with them: scheduling and placement reform, large scale professional development, massive committment, all of it from TFA and non-TFA teachers alike.

For the rest of my life, anything I do or anything that I am involved in that is in anyway admirable or beneficial, TFA will claim it. And that feels more than a little bizarre.


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