A link to this article in the Daily News came through on multiple list serves this morning: “New York City Teaching Fellows call for overhaul of 12-year program as deadline for new batch of teachers nears.” I think Lisa Cunningham, a former New York City Teaching Fellow who was interviewed for the article by Corinne Lestch, sums up the gist well: “I just think we need to have a serious conversation as a city about the way we train and support our teachers” (full article here).
First of all, isn’t there a hiring freeze? That’s what I’ve heard from friends looking to get a teaching position at a New York City public school, anyway…
But more importantly, this isn’t the first time, and I doubt will be the last, that the effectiveness of alternative certification programs like the New York City Teaching Fellows has been questioned.
I was reminded of the start of the program — I’d wanted to apply, but missed the first deadline, and joined a year later with Cohort 3. How differently the program was painted then. I’m reminded of an article in The New York Times, “A Longer Shortcut to School,” in which I appeared with a colleague, that outlined a sort of day-in-the-life of two New York City Teaching Fellows. I’m described as “tall and animated,” and the author, Abby Goodnough, offers an account of my attempt to teach perimeter to third graders (which, years later, is a little horrifying to read). The tenor of the article is one of skepticism, though in contrast to today’s in The Daily News, far more hopeful about the program on the whole.
As I come up on the last year of graduate school, and begin to really consider what I want my job to look like as a full-time teacher educator, I am concerned about the disjointedness of teacher education, generally, and how programs like the New York City Teaching Fellows have confused the terms of what’s really going on in our city’s schools.