I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

31 August 2012

Unfortunate Timing

Late summer and early fall brings many new book publications as well as the beginning of the school year, and this week my limited impulse control and voracious book consumption went head to head with the need to get a full night of sleep before a day of new Kindergartners.

Worst of all, I have an e-book reader and actually started using it over the summer, which means that I can have all available books in a series (yeah, I read low-brow literature: so what?) in an instant and at times delivered in massive, inexpensive omnibus editions.

In the end, I managed the scheduling conflict by reading books rather than the news in the morning.  Like a lot of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, I need to get up earlier than most people to function well.  So I filled my time with urban fantasy.  Generally I'd feel guilty about not keeping up on current events, but missing the latest developments in American politics was probably a good more for my blood pressure.

In other news, I have the only classroom in my building with no known mice issues.  This seems unlikely; the exterminator was going to do a full check this afternoon.  I hope I don't have mice.  The hygiene issues would be upsetting, and I had pet mice as a kid and can't deal with the traps.  On the other hand, if there are truly no mice in my room, I have to wonder if one of the snakes we occasionally find in our building has taken up residence in my room.  (Just because this is extremely unlikely does not make it something I don't worry about.)  I am going in this weekend and have already bribed someone to check for traps in my room and remove them if they are present and filled before I enter.

26 August 2012

Learning the Wrong Lessons

Part of Teach for America's theory of change is that some portion of its alumni will move on to positions that will enable them to take action towards educational equity.  Their experience in the classroom, reasons TFA, will cause them to have the desire to make that change, the leadership skill to rise to a position in which the change can be made, and the experience to make the right kind of change.

You could quibble with all of these, but it's the third that worries me the most.  Whatever these alumni learn is leading them to some very questionable choices about what change is needed.  I'd argue that this is due to the TFA model.

For instance, TFA alumni with power are loudly demanding pay-for-performance schemes and an end to teacher tenure.  Teachers are lazy, they explain, and need to be measured and threatened into adequate performance.

I've heard this from both alumni and CMs in the classroom.  What they don't get is that all the drive and energy they're putting into their classrooms during their two years is necessary groundwork.  The teachers they decry as lazy already put those hours in.  Their handmade games are printed, laminated, and cut.  Their lesson plans need annual adjustment, which is a lot faster than building a unit from scratch.  They spent four hours painstakingly making worksheets on the computer a few years ago, so now all they need to do is hit "print".  Parents and children know them, so they don't need to spend so much time making up discipline plans: veterans have authority in and of themselves (not to mention years of experience that enable working classroom management plans).

So what the CMs assume is that veterans are lazy.  They don't have the understanding or experience to know what they don't know.  And when they take their incorrect understanding to leadership roles, they make teaching harder for everyone.

Similarly, TFA's alumni are big into data and testing and DIBELs and data-driven instruction and all that stuff.  Indeed, data are important.  But the veteran teacher knows the limitations of the tool, and is capable of doing the on-the-ground, informal assessment that should really drive instruction.  I don't need to give regular formal assessments in reading to guide my instruction.  I can tell you - and show observational data to back it up - what my students know and need to learn.  But observational and informal assessment is harder than formal assessment.  You have to do it yourself: decide what you're looking for, how you will know if you've seen it, what you will do if you don't, and so on.  Give a formal, standardized assessment and it will tell you - no pedagogical knowledge needed.

Again, this is where the incomplete understanding of the TFA alumni makes my job harder.  Because they don't really know what teaching reading is, they demand students read nonsense words and be judged upon their ability to do so.  I'd rather teach my kids to read.  Assessments like these waste my time and teach nothing.

I could go on like this for ages, but I think the point is clear.  If you're creating educational leaders who make change, you should want them to push for important changes that will make a positive difference.  TFA alumni aren't pushing for those changes - smaller class sizes, decent classroom conditions and funding, etc.  The changes they imagine are pointless or punitive.  I believe this is due to their brief classroom tenures.  They don't understand what they don't know, but they're willing to punish me and my students for their lack of knowledge.

25 August 2012

Why We Need Actual Public Schools

Apparently, California's charter schools have decided to exempt themselves from Transitional Kindergarten requirements.

Can we stop hearing all about how charters do everything public schools do except better on less money?  They don't do it better, they don't do it cheaper, and in this case, they don't do it at all.  Whether it's failing charter schools retaining their charters or outright refusal to follow the law, whatever charter schools are, they aren't public schools.

The First Week of Kindergarten

I have been doing this for a long time now, and the first week's general outlines are pretty standard.  The week looks something like this.

MONDAY: Teachers are on their A game, which is good because the children are all over the place.  Some are so excited that they simply must touch everything RIGHT NOW.  Others need to be physically blocked from fleeing out the door in tears.  Transitions - to and from recess, etc. - are challenging.  The wise teacher offers a healthy snack and gets the kids ready for dismissal twenty minutes before the bell rings.  This cuts off crankiness at the pass while also guarding against not seeing who picks up a child in the dismissal crunch.

TUESDAY:  Far easier than Monday, most children are excited to do this again.  Anything that happened on Monday is assumed to be routine, which makes Tuesday a delightful adventure for cheerful children.  Any criers give over in five minutes.

WEDNESDAY: Do not plan to build on Tuesday's gains!  Wednesday is the day when the effects of two days of hard work and structure are evident in the children's emotional states.  Children who were slow to warm up on Monday and Tuesday may cry; transitions are shakier and teachers are likely to be asked about having a rest time, when school is over, and if there is school tomorrow.  Recess will be chaotic.  The wise teacher takes a vibe check of the class in the morning and reschedules accordingly; this is a good day for quiet play or getting out the really exciting imaginative toys and not so good for teaching complicated structures or completing worksheets.  Follow the emotional lead of your students.  There is no reason to demand work right now.  We are building the ability of children to feel successful and happy at school.  There is enough time for drill later.  Wednesday readalouds give you a good sense of how much the class enjoys books and their stamina, though.

THURSDAY: Far easier than Wednesday.  At least one parent will tell you their child went to bed before seven o'clock yesterday.  The refreshed children are ready to learn some new procedures and try some different work.  Most if not all of the children will be sad to hear the day is over.

FRIDAY: Teachers are tired.  By late morning, at least two children who have had no problems all week will have emotional storms.  If a child is going to throw up in class, it will happen on Friday.  This is a good day for a long afternoon of art and crafts and good readalouds, so any academic work should be finished by noon.  If it is at all warm, judicious use of the water spray bottle will soothe tears and restore order.

21 August 2012

One down, four to go

I do not really enjoy the first week of school.  Sure, I like meeting new children and their families.  Seeing how systems and lessons planned work for a new class is an intellectual challenge.  But overall, the first week requires lots of things I find challenging: enormous to-do lists of short items, retaining control over paperwork, managing several different information tracks at once, being the repository of all data for many sources (the after school program, families, the office, etc.) - all in all, it's very tiring.  And calmness in the face of chaos and tired children is key.

So I enjoy opportunities for outside items that raise my ire, like this nonsense in the New York Times.  Briefly:

  1. As a teacher, I would be opening myself to serious discipline by suggesting a child be assessed for ADHD.
  2. So I find it suspicious that the teacher in the article did not only suggest the above, but also turned directly toward medication.
  3. Indeed, the way the author recounts the tale suggests the teacher was more interested in control than any actual needs of the child.
  4. I note with interest that the author tells us she took her child to an "upper East side of Manhattan psychiatrist."
  5. This leads me to believe that the author's son was enrolled at a private, competitive school.
  6. So in addition to doubting the existence of the teacher (did she receive a bonus from Shire or similar for every prescription?), I have to wonder to what extent the parent's desires for her child impacted her decision to medicate him.
  7. As someone who spends at least the majority of each year taking ADHD medications, I take offense to the author's conclusion that medication is only really necessary when teachers suck.
  8. In comments on a blog post about the article, readers recount teachers diagnosing their children in  Kindergarten.
  9. ADHD is rarely if ever diagnosed in such young children by anyone at any time.
  10. Teachers are generally aware of the criteria for diagnosis because parents ask about ADHD with some frequency.
  11. Therefore, I doubt the veracity of these drug-pushing Kindergarten teachers.

20 August 2012

Here We Go Again!

It doesn't matter how many times you've done it before: the first day is hectic, nearly unplan-able, and stomach acid-producing.

Most of the Bay Area districts go back today.  They really should do a Clean Air Alert (Overwhelming Tension: Avoid Schools, Targets, Watering Holes of Teachers during Friday's Happy Hour) for it.

17 August 2012

It is really past time to get to school and start haunting the office for a class roster, but this article was awfully interesting.  I especially appreciated that TFA's growth claims were questioned - by TFA.  I am going to try to say more about this later, but with PTO picnic, chicken repatriation, and the rest (MONDAY!)...

16 August 2012

Scripted Curricula

What with school starting Monday and all, it was not really the happiest bunch of teachers over at the Treasures training today.

Treasures is our new District language arts...thingamajig.  It is not our curriculum in that we are not required to use it; rather, we are to regard it as a "resource".

...a resource we spent three hours reviewing.  It's not much time - nowhere enough to really be ready to use the program.  And yet it's an eternity: no matter how many hours a teacher has put in already, there's always too much to do to be off campus looking at pamphlets for an afternoon.

Besides, many schools haven't even unwrapped their Treasures yet, and no one seems to know what the District purchased - since they probably didn't buy every component, it's hard to get excited about resources we may or may not have.

Since my school is one of the "Balanced Literacy" schools using Teachers College stuff, we were especially not looking forward to Treasures.  However, I think it will be useful for the new teachers in that it has a fully-planned scope and sequence for phonics, spelling, and phonemic awareness.  Readers Workshop suggests that you read Words Their Way, research your kids, figure out what they need, and then make your plans (plus all the materials you will need, which can be extensive).  A teacher with experience can do this.  A teacher who is new has way too much else to do, and doing everything guarantees failure everywhere.

Overall the thing looks fine; some of the big books will be good to have, and my leveled library always needs more titles.  It is not quite as scripted as Open Court (and certainly has nothing on Saxon Math, which not only told the teacher exactly what to say but provided right and wrong answers that children might give, plus appropriate responses to child answers).

Otherwise, I would say that my site is very excited: very excited to work together, for a new year, to try new things, etc.  And then very excited because every classroom at our school is big - all of the Kindergartens and first grades have 23 or more children - and class lists are still not available.  That's a lot of names to write, even though I assume that not all of those registered will appear.  And time is running out.

13 August 2012

Grants, Grants, Grants

At this point in my teaching career, just about everything in my classroom - from the pencils to the furniture with side trips to the dress-up closet and the chicken hutch - has been provided thanks to generous donors.

I have received over fifty grants on Donors Choose and literally tens of thousands of dollars in materials from various grant programs.  I do think it is unfortunate that classroom materials are now available to the teacher who is the most willing to put in extra time, scrounge around, and successfully beg private individuals for cash.  I believe public education should be publicly funded.  That said, I do have some suggestions for those who want to join me in getting what their classroom needs.  These are especially keyed to Donors Choose.  It's big, you can write easy grants for almost anything, and it's well-known.

  1. Think about what gets funded.  In my experience, math and science projects fund faster than any others, followed by reading and writing projects.  I've gotten furniture, some of it quite expensive, but these are the projects I have had to request twice.  Typically, art materials also get funded; play and physical education takes a little longer.  You should ask for whatever you want, but when you have few points and are just starting out, I recommend math and science.
  2. Keep it simple.  I think it's generally better to request a unit of study than a general topic.  For instance, a project full of materials to practice one-to-one correspondence is better than a bunch of math toys to teach a year of study.  Also, no matter how carefully you select, it's likely that you will occasionally receive a manipulative that sounds great but doesn't work in your classroom.  If it's one of many teaching that topic it seems less disappointing, I think.  Also, this helps keep costs down and makes for a coherent, simple essay.
  3. Work those one-point projects, but don't forget the big ones.  Less expensive projects are more likely to be funded (and funded quickly) than more expensive ones.  They also cost fewer points, which is important until you have had lots of projects funded (and have lots of points).  But some big projects fill.  I had a two thousand dollar project funded by over forty small donors and one nearly as large purchased by a single individual.   Also, it does happen that there are sudden mass project buyouts.  A couple of years ago, one of the Giannini descendants funded every project in California.  Once last year, an anonymous donor funded every SFUSD project.  It happens.  If you have one big-ticket project that you resubmit every time it expires, you are likely to get lucky someday.
  4. If You Need It All, It's One Project.  Donors Choose recommends splitting big projects into a series of smaller ones.  Of course, if a project requires all its components to work (and you cannot fund part of it by other means), then you're in trouble if only some of the smaller ones get funded.  So if you, say, need the projector or you can't use the doc cam, then you need to have one big project.
  5. Don't Hide High-Needs.  Teaching at a high-needs school is hard work.  Parents are less able to support the school financially; children have fewer opportunities for enrichment outside of school.  Poverty has serious impacts on learning.  Many high-needs schools also have many English Language Learners.  Don't hide these facts (if applicable) in your essay.  There's no need to be depressing or demeaning to families, but there is also no reason not to observe that your students get less and need more.  Many people want to help - let them know why you need their help!
  6. Be Seasonal.  Get your projects up for Back to School and keep them up through the winter holidays.  I make sure to request my annual project for summer learning kits for my students before October of the year before.  There are certain times of year when you are more likely to get a project funded.  Make sure you have your projects up and ready for funders.
  7. Always have projects up.  You can have up to eight active projects on Donors Choose.  There is no reason not to have a request up for funding unless you do not have anything you need.  I do not know any teacher who does not need anything.
  8. Just Ask.  I post projects to my facebook and email out links on occasion.  I request reposting.  Although most of my projects are funded by strangers, I've also had friends donate, or request that their corporate giving office look into helping my classroom out.  You have a hard job.  Email is easy to delete.  Send out a link.
  9. Constant Vigilance.  I check in regularly to discover announced funding opportunities.  I also look for unannounced ones.  If my project gets a match offer, I try to discover why so that I can potentially get that offer again.  (This can literally be as simple as having one specific word in your essay.)  I take a look to see who funded my projects, and if it is a foundation, I try to discover if they have certain kinds of projects they like and if I have anything else I need in that area (for instance, I know of a couple of foundations that generally fund sensory integration grants).  Going all Mad-Eye Moody about grant opportunities can yield big rewards.  For instance, I noticed a potential funding pattern last week and mentioned it on my facebook page.  Several staff members at my school put up projects in response.  Yesterday about half of those projects got funded.  And when the Waiting for Superplutocrats people teamed up with Borders to hand out $15 gift cards, I had projects up to be funded in $15 increments.
  10. Get those photo releases signed at the beginning of the year.  I make sure to pass these out at Back to School Night with a detailed explanation.   I usually get a bunch back before Back to School Night ends.  I follow up with any parents who don't attend BtSN or don't return the form; I have never had a parent decline to sign once I explain the purpose.
  11. Just get the thank yous done.  I know how hard this can be with everything else you have to do.  But the thank you notes don't have to be elaborate.  Take the pictures on your mobile phone.  Simple.
If anyone has other hot tips for getting funding, I'd love to hear them.

11 August 2012

Wildlife I Have Known

Since it abuts a park and is quite old, my wing of my school is an abundant source of wonder for the young naturalist.  Isopods, spiders, and various beetles in a wide array of colors, shapes, and sizes abound.  Grasshoppers and dragonflies occasionally stray in, as do a few cockroaches (I'm pretty lucky in this respect; if I see two roaches all year that's a lot).  We also have mice, which have attracted a few snakes in my time.  Early one morning a few years ago, a confused skunk came barreling through (without spraying, luckily).

This morning when I opened up the annex a giant thing came limping out of the dark.  It was so big I thought it was an injured frog.  Then I got a look at it:

(image from here)

After a little panicking unbefitting a Kindergarten teacher I was able to re-enter the building.  The mole cricket had placed itself between me and the stairs leading to my classroom, and there was no other way to enter.  (At the time I thought it was a mutant mammal/grasshopper cross or something; the little front paws for digging are really and truly creepy a clear example of diversity and adaptation in the animal kingdom).

So after a little preparation, I took a running leap and cleared four stairs in one go, putting me well out of the mole cricket's range.  Then I sprinted the rest of way to my room, went in, closed the door, improvised a windstop and got to work.   I also took a break to research the mole cricket, discovering that it could also fly.  I closed all the windows.

When I left, I jumped down all the stairs after warning the cricket that I was totally willing and able to smash it.  My voice hardly trembled at all.  Then I ran out of the building.  On my way out, I explained I had not locked up because I thought someone else might be working in the annex I knew that if I stopped to lock the door, thereby turning my back on the mole cricket and giving it an opportunity to sneak up behind, kill, and eat me.

It's funny; had the Kindergartners been there I know I would've been capturing it in a jar and quite positively excited about the whole thing.  On my own, though, not so much.

10 August 2012

Big Questions of the Quotidian Educator

  1. Why must a table always be just an inch too wide to go where you want it to?
  2. Why are the outlets located in areas that will require great feats of cord and duct tape to access?
  3. Why do isopods come into the school building where they cannot breathe well and therefore die?
  4. Why does fadeless paper fade so egregiously?
In other news, every year I find that I become ever more exacting in my supply requirements.  For instance, I bought a whole lot of Astrobrights paper yesterday, paying a premium over less brightly colored, thinner choices.  That said, sometimes specificity is warranted.  For instance, no permanent marker combines the exactitude of line, even flow of ink, and low-odor that a brand-name Sharpie or Mark-It does, and as a left-handed person these things are important for keeping one's person neat and ink-free.

08 August 2012

And That Is Going to Cost You.

SFUSD is also adopting such plans.  These plans will require an unprecedented level of communication and support between teachers, administrators, counselors, inclusion specialists, OT providers, parents, and students.  They're also going to cost money.
Given current school budgets and the years of unending racial disparities in education, I don't think teachers are wrong to be suspicious.
For instance: I have been told by a high-level special education professional that I cannot request any kind of OT screen - even with parents' strong accord - unless the child already has an IEP.  I have received requests for assessment from parents that were declined because they weren't written "appropriately" - for instance, because a parent asked for "help" instead of "assessment".  I have requested simple material support (like a seat wedge or something for the really, really bouncy child) and been told to write a Donors Choose grant to get it.
As a Kindergarten teacher, suspension is a rare thing indeed.  Still, I'm a professional and I take a long view.  I can identify that children need supports in Kindergarten that will help them successfully access their education.  (I can also identify that I am not reaching a particular child and I don't know what would help - and spend months begging for a quick professional observation.  So I read a lot of books.)  By providing these supports now, we're taking care of future problems, just like Brizard proposes.  Yet somehow the support teachers need too often fails to appear.  And that child who was really bouncy in Kindergarten didn't access the curriculum, and he or she gets further behind every year, while also becoming no less bouncy yet far less engaged, interested, or inclined to enjoy school.
Last year, I had a lot of interaction with the Special Education department.  While they are all hardworking professionals, the amount of incorrect information I heard was disconcerting (I now have a giant PDF of Special Education law on my computer at home so I can do my own fact-checking and cite law and code as needed).  Also, some of those professionals occasionally evinced that certain disdain for teachers that comes from too many years out of the classroom.  For instance, one of them asked me if I had tried a certain strategy; I drew the specialist's attention to the extensive logs that identified that strategy in use, with comments and adjustments made.  This person then apologized vaguely, commenting that very few Kindergarten teachers ever try such things.
So between the attitudes toward classroom teachers and the fact that front-end proactive measures require front-end proactive cash, I wonder how well these strategies will work out on the ground.  I am at once excited - success would have a huge impact on racial disparities in education, I believe - and also suspicious.

06 August 2012

Those Lazy Teachers

Despite the fact that teachers in SFUSD are not due at work until a week from Wednesday, three-quarters of the classroom teachers at my site spent today getting ready for the next year.

About half came in last week, too; most are planning to work every day this week.

As always, these hours are uncompensated and not included in labor statistics or considered by:

  • hedge fund managers with an interest in education reform on their way to the Hamptons, Art Basel or similar;
  • leaders of education reform groups, waiting in line to deposit their $50,000 honoraria, and
  • media pundits, enjoying snacks in the green room before makeup.
“It is true that we have an unfair society, and it is true that kids who are coming from the poorer backgrounds and whose parents don’t do a lot of reading are losing reading skills over the summer,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College. “But let’s look at other solutions.” He added, “Whatever job we give to the school system, they ruin it."

Dear Dr. Gray:

Not to alarm you or anything, but technically?  You guys over at Boston College are also part of the education system.  So I'll look forward to seeing you breaking and ruining stuff at the next Keith Moon Memorial Party for Teachers.

It's true that in my teaching I haven't been able to conquer the insidious and ever-present effects of institutional racism, poverty, and the general vague disdain for children Americans cherish.  I'm not sure what I've been actively ruining, though.

I mean, I did accidentally drop a child-created clay sculpture last year.  Is that what you're talking about?  Because it was an accident and I apologized.  I guess it's possible that my clumsiness has left an indelible black mark of ruination on the poor artist's soul.  I promise I'll be more careful this year.

I admit that teaching is sometimes not that great for my health.  The lack of heat in my classroom last winter did some nerve damage to my fingers.  I wouldn't have said that they were ruined, though.  Perhaps you were being hyperbolic?

Or maybe you're just an arrogant research professor who knows you could do my job far better than I do, even though you've never done it yourself.  I mean, it's just a bunch of women - and union members - in our schools.  We can't be the brightest bulbs.  Certainly we have nothing on a research professor at Boston College.

I did take a look at your blog and I see you're a big believer in less test prep and more play.  Hey, me too!  Children - even adults - need plenty of free play and exercise for health, happiness, social development, emotional awareness, and just plain fun.  Not to mention that the better core strength and eye-tracking skills play develops really helps kids read - I make sure my students get free play and exercise every day.  But since I'm out ruining kids, maybe I should give that up?  I'd hate to ruin their play, too.

Anyway, I'm sure you have a busy day of blogging and opining ahead.  Me, I really need to wrap this letter up - it's heavy lifting day to get my classroom ready to ruin this year's class of eager young people.  At least I'll have plenty of help from the reduced funding, new vermin infestation, recent community violence, and the ongoing effort to save our schools by demoralizing our teachers.

Yours in Ruination,

E. Rat

04 August 2012

Three Useful Phrases

One of the most important things I've learned in teaching is that it's okay not to have all the answers, make mistakes, or not be certain of the best course of action.  Some simple phrases of great classroom use:

  1. I don't know.  Also really useful when followed by "but I can find out", "what do you think?", or "how could we find out?".
  2. Sorry about that.  A simple apology has many uses.  One time it comes in handy is when an activity fails.  If something goes wrong, I generally try to debrief it with my class.  That way, I can publicly take responsibility for my part in the problem, troubleshoot what we can do if I make the same mistake again, and/or observe areas of shared fault.  (For instance, if I give unclear directions for getting materials and this leads to drama, the poor directions are my fault.  We may need a general procedure to avoid this happening again, or we may already have a related procedure that my students could have applied, but given the bad directions and the pleasure of chaos, they didn't.)
  3. What would you like to happen now?  I find this useful when talking to aggrieved children.  I don't always know what will solve a conflict, or why information is being shared with me.  What do you want me to do about it? can also work, but it's more of an "advanced teacher" phrase, I think - too easy for it to sound accusatory or unhelpful.  The responses to this are often very illuminating.  Sometimes children just wanted to share information, sometimes they can get some insight into tattling (sometimes the response is "I want them to be in trouble"), and sometimes you can come up with some reconciliation that is more effective than an apology.  Children are quite creative in restoring relationships, I've found.

01 August 2012

My issues with Teach for America are many, but one of the chief (if concrete) problems I have is that I really and truly don't believe they have any business placing Corps Members with preschool-age children.

I don't care how many big goals you can set, how effective your planning is, or how you've planned to document those significant gains.  There is information children need to learn in preschool.  A great deal of it is social-emotional.  Preschool age children do not negotiate with you and they do not reason in adult ways.  They are not built to sit through teacher-directed, content-heavy lessons.

To work effectively with preschool age children (Kindergarten too...really any grade, but especially with the youngest), you need to know something about child development.  You need to plan learning into play, provide experiences for social development, observe play behaviors, and assume that things will break down.  When they do, you need the patience to go with the flow and to figure out what children need - because critically, they won't know how to tell you.  The experienced PreK teacher knows that squirrelly bodies need to run around, that cranky faces need a snack, and what the pee dance looks like.

I suppose it is possible in theory that TFA's Corps Members learn all this in their five-week training.  However, it is so very different from the rest of the TFA mission that I doubt it.  I suspect that PreK teachers in particular are going to struggle with management, and some of them will behave in ways totally inappropriate for young children.  There will be damage.

Anyway, I was poking around the TFA blogs and I found this entry, which confirms a lot of my suspicions about TFA in the PreK environment.  I feel very badly for this Corps Member - the Institute environment is intense, and the feelings of failure/resentment/exhaustion must be horrible.  But I also believe that she did the best thing she could for herself and her prospective students, and I hope that TFA took her very valid concerns seriously.

...but even if they did, I still want them out of ECE.