Blue Suede Shoes

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 23 2010

The Offer…

Does it seem strange to anyone else that Teach For America asks that we take the first offer we receive? I understand the logic behind it, as interviews are supposedly scheduled in some sequential strategic fashion so that they end in a hire, and it wouldn’t make sense to have corps members field multiple interviews/offers, especially while others may not have any on the horizon. But I suppose I am just too used to having options to choose from – college, law school, other jobs – and not used to having absolutely no say in something.

Don’t get me wrong: Anyone who knows me knows I would teach any subject anywhere with Teach For America… though it certainly wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to place me as a social studies teacher, as that section on the Praxis II: MSCK schooled me (pun totally intended). And honestly, I’m not someone who should even be given choices, because I suffer from chronic indecision.

So believe me when I say I was incredibly pleased to receive an offer from the principal the day after my interview. She seems like a really dedicated and supportive administrator – “I’ve been here 34 years as a teacher and principal. No one cares more about this school and wants the students here to succeed more than I do,” she said during my interview – and I am very excited to work with her. In an ideal world, maybe, I would interview at more schools, I could be selective, choose the school that fit me best, but if we lived in that world, Teach For America wouldn’t have to exist. In this world, I will make my school be my best fit and me its best fit.

2 Responses

  1. Sara

    It’s actually because TFA doesn’t want to damage its relationship with the placement schools. If CMs are getting to choose and they don’t select a school, the school isn’t going to want to waste its time interviewing TFA candidates, which will result in placements decreasing. Basically, schools aren’t looking at you as an individual, but you as a face for TFA. Also, you’ve never been in a school, so you don’t really know what is the best fit for you. Your two year committment will give you a much better understanding and maybe you can then choose your school after then.

  2. Sara -
    Thanks for commenting! I didn’t even think about the relationship with placement schools. I’m sure that also plays a role. We were actually notified on Friday that because of changes in the hiring system in Memphis this year, there *is* flexibility and that we may not necessarily have to accept the first offer we receive.
    And yes, I don’t know yet what kind of school I would thrive best in, but certainly with more interviews/potential offers, I could get a better feel for what kind of principal I’d want to work for, what resources each school can offer, etc. Even something like location could be a factor in determining “best fit” (or at least “better fit”), and I just felt that this “take the first offer” rule was one school’s choosing me and that would be the end of it, rather than my choosing a school.
    In any case, I will not be continuing my two-year commitment, so I will devote my energy in these two years to creating the best experience I can at whatever school I am at.

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