It’s time for Teach For America to fold: The lesson for computing education
The piece linked below is about why Teach for America should fold, but the argument being made is the same for why TEALS is not a useful strategy for the long-term health of computing education in the United States. We need to build up our corps of veteran computer science teachers. Using professional IT workers as stop-gap measures means that there’s no incentive to develop those veteran teachers, and means that we’re not spending our efforts in teacher professional development that will pay off over the long-term.
The other problem is the wasted investment a school makes in a teacher who leaves after just a few years. Sadly, I’m a poster child for this. I remember my last day at my school in Colorado, as I made the rounds saying goodbye to veteran teachers, my friends and colleagues who had provided me such crucial support and mentorship. As I talked of my plans for law school in Chicago, and they bade me best wishes, I felt an overwhelming wave of guilt. Their time and energy spent making me a better teacher – and I was massively better on that day compared to my first – was for naught. The previous summer I had spent a week of training, paid for by my school, to learn to teach pre–Advanced Placement classes. I taught the class for a year; presumably, I thought, someone else would have to receive the same training – or, worse, someone else would not receive the same training. All that work on classroom management and understanding of the curriculum, all the support in connecting with students and writing lesson – it would all have to begin again with a new teacher.