Hire Me! COME ON! I’m Fricking Adorable!
Long time, no post!
Recently I have fallen into a bit of a writing malaise. It might somewhat correlated to the hiring malaise I am in as well. Read… I am not hired yet. When I started this blog I was under the assumption that I would be hired by the first day of school, which turned out to be a bit of a fantasy in New Orleans.
So why are you unhired?
Let me explain. Stay with me now…
New Orleans has become a veritable laboratory of education innovation since every established education system was obliterated post-Katrina. With destroyed schools, a dysfunctional school board, and diaspora of teachers and students there was an opening for something new to take root where, even prior to Katrina, the educational outlook was bleak.
The Recovery School District, a state takeover of Orleans Parish Schools pre-Katrina, was transformed by its newly instated Superintendent Paul Vallas into a dynamic system that spun many schools off into independently run charter schools, while managing other schools like a traditional district. Fundamental to this plan was entrusting principals with the important decisions needed to turn around a devastated education system.
For more on this transformation read this great NYT piece on the system, TFA, and education reform: A Teachable Moment.
Ok, so why are you unhired?
Keep with me. Part of the New Orleans experiment was to allow parents and students the freedom choice to choose between any of the cities charters or RSD-run schools. Basically, the ultimate school of choice zone and a free-marketeers wet dream. Unfortunately, that means many schools are unsure of their enrollment numbers going into a new school year. Predictions on high enrollment may fall flat and teachers will be let go, or schools will have above predicted number of enrollees and need to high new teachers a month into school. Without solid “warm body counts” (yup that would be the term they use) schools don’t know how much state funding they will receive, therefore leaving them unable to hire teachers…. aka me.
But you are in TFA they are supposed to give you a job!
Yah, so, sort of. In many TFA regions a single TFA employee is able to talk to a single HR person in a district and ensure placement of TFA corps members (me). In NOLA, because we are this oh so special laboratory of innovation, we have 33 traditional RSD schools, 37 charter schools, 16 Orleans Parish School board run schools, and other parish districts to interview with. This means a team of 5 TFA employees working constantly to set up interviews with school leaders and identifying vacancies.
Basically, its an educational free market and I am currently the surplus supply. Joy.
Doesn’t that suck.
Yup. Kind of does. Turns out TFA might have recruited a few too many science people this year, which is why I’m taking the incredibly easy social studies praxis tomorrow. Seriously, really easy test. Some of the blame is on TFA for bringing 210 corps members when they had a even worse hiring problem last year. Additionally, Jefferson Parish schools, a suburban traditional district, laid off a gazillion teachers, including many TFA corps members, at the end of last year and threw many of the projections for placement out the window.
Are you staying sane?
Yup. I had the opportunity to work at Walter L. Cohen High School for 3 weeks with second year TFA corps members. It gave me the experience of working in a school that was realistically one of the worst in New Orleans before and after the storm, but has seen the fruits of solid school leadership in both academic and cultural gains at the school. Additionally, I’ve worked at the International High School, a diverse and innovative charter school, as it works to get off the ground in a new location with many first year corps members. These experiences observing different systems and styles of teaching that many TFA corps members who were hired and started working on the first day were not able to receive.
I have also watched a lot of Netflix instant view material. A lot. Also, Michigan Football… great way to stay sane this year.