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Teach For America Counter-Narratives

Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out


Edited By Jameson T. Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais

In its twenty-five years of existence, Teach For America (TFA) has transformed from an organization based on a perceived need to ameliorate a national teacher shortage to an organization that seeks to systematically replace traditional fully-certified teachers while simultaneously producing alumni who are interested in facilitating neoliberal education reform through elected political positions. From its inception, TFA has had its share of critics; yet criticism of the organization by its own members and alumni has largely been silenced and relegated to the margins.
This book – the first of its kind – provides alumni of TFA with the opportunity to share their insight on the organization. And perhaps more importantly, this collection of counter-narratives serves as a testament that many of the claims made by TFA are, in fact, myths that ultimately hurt teachers and students. No longer will alumni voices be silenced in the name of corporate and neoliberal education reform.
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Chapter Three: Productive Mistakes: Teacher Mentorship and Teach For America



Productive Mistakes: Teacher Mentorship and Teach For America

BRENDON JOBS Philadelphia, Summer 2005


The son of Trinidadian immigrants, Brendon currently teaches world history, African American history, and sociology at the Girard Academic Music Program in Philadelphia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University and a master’s certificate in secondary education from the Penn Graduate School of Education as a Philadelphia Teaching Fellow. He returned to Penn as a James Madison Fellow to earn an M.S.Ed. in teaching, learning and curriculum with a focus on gender and education. Last year he completed the National Board Teaching Certification process. Beyond the classroom, he affiliates with Teacher Action Group (TAG), a group of like-minded teachers working to organize, innovate, and empower other educators throughout Philly in the midst of this politically orchestrated school funding crisis. His experience includes work as a Lehman Fellow, a National Constitution Center Annenberg Fellow, and an Education Pioneer Fellow with the SEED Foundation in Washington, D.C. He is an advocate for public education interested in developing structures that support diversity and student voice in school communities. He also currently participates in the Black Male Educator Roundtable out of Penn GSE’s newly formed Center for the Study of Race and Equity. ← 33 | 34 →


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