Mr. Parello Sensei

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 15 2013

My Education Career: Discouragement and Optimism

The 2012-2013 school year has been a blur; with only forty days left, it still feels like I’ve barely gotten into it.  I’ve spent the entire year in a substitute role at my charter school, and I’m eager- or maybe desperate- to find a job as a full time teacher, hopefully at the same school. …

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Jan 29 2013

Mediocre Teaching from the Students’ Perspective

Most new teachers, at some point in their training, get a chance to watch skilled teachers teach.  Although providing few opportunities during institute itself, TFA does mandate that its inductees log a certain number of hours of classroom observation.  Once I switched from TFA to a traditional credentialing program, observing the master teacher prior to…

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Jan 07 2013

The Primacy of Classroom Management

In August of last year I returned to California from Japan after completing two years on the JET Program.  The transition was anything but easy.  First, I returned to the same moribund economy that had caused me to take my job in Japan in the first place.  As September approached and I had already sent…

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Jul 04 2012

Choosing to Succeed

Teach for America loves to sugarcoat the first year.  Rather than a realistic portrayal of the challenges that face new corps members, TFA has consistently opted for positive propaganda over reality.  Since reading the blog posts of new corps members entering the corps this year, it has become clear to me that this hasn’t yet…

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Jul 02 2012

Five Years Later: Revisiting Ms. Lora’s Story

Five years ago was the beginning of my strange teaching career that started at the Los Angeles TFA institute and has brought me here to Kobe, Japan.  In that time I’ve read dozens and dozens of books about teaching.  Since starting this blog though, I developed a keen interest in revisiting one of the first…

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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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