Mr. Parello Sensei

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

Archives › 2012 › June

I’ve been teaching English in Japan for the past two years.  My time here is ending soon, and I’m hoping to make my return to teaching in the US in the fall.  I have a team teaching role in Japan, so I’m looking forward to having my own classroom.  There are a lot of surface…

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During my year teaching with TFA, I taught my group of about twenty-five students for the entire day.  I taught them every subject. For the duration of their fifth grade year, my ability to teach those subjects determined how well my students would learn them.  If I was an incompetent teacher, my incompetence would affect…

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Jun 19 2012

SFA: Substitute For America

After leaving TFA at the end of the 2007-2008 school year, I chose to remain hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District and become a substitute teacher.  Although I had failed to make significant gains with my students as a corps member, I resolved that as a substitute I could at least perform the…

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Jun 17 2012

My uncensored advice to new CM’s in institute

My TFA censorship drama ended yesterday.  The administrator of the facebook page who had censored my posts and banned me from the page, expressed to me in an email that he had gone against his own values and felt very guilty for having done so.   He told me that my voice was welcome and necessary…

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Jun 15 2012

TFA Staff: The Disconnect from Life in the Trenches

On my list of books that have defined the way I think about education, Diane Ravitch’s “The Death and Life of the Great American School System” is high up.  She effectively eviscerates No Child Left Behind and the movement to base teacher evaluations and compensation on student test scores.  It was therefore no small joy…

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Jun 14 2012

Institute: Reality vs. “Positive Messaging”

I received an email this morning from the TFA recruiting director at my alma mater.  He wanted alums to like the university’s TFA page on Facebook and give advice to new corps members about to start institute.  I was excited to give any advice to help new corps members avoid the disasters of my first…

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Institute is beginning soon for 2012 corps members, and I want to wish all new CMs good luck. I’d like to offer some quick thoughts on how TFA can improve its institutes, and brief suggestions on where corps members can turn if they don’t feel like they are getting what they need out of the…

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Jun 12 2012

Why I quit TFA after my first year

In 2007, I began teaching elementary school in Los Angeles, in what I expected to be the beginning of a long career.  I had always intended to go far beyond the two year commitment, and joined TFA primarily to be a part of the community, or the “movement” as it’s often called.  I never expected…

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