Short Documentary: A day in the life at TFA institute

In 2002, a TFA alum made an 11 minute documentary about what a typical day for a New York 2002 corps member was during the summer training.  It aired on PBS along with a bunch of other shorts.

Since I have a small cameo in this — the corps member attended the workshop on classroom management I used to present at the institute — I videotaped it back then and recently found the tape and have digitized it and put it up on YouTube so now I don’t have to worry anymore about losing this VHS tape that I’ve been keeping track of for ten years.

As you will see, the corps members are pretty busy over the summer.  My critique of the institute has never been that they don’t keep the corps members very busy.  Just a lack of prioritization.

I don’t really like the way I come off in the video.  At one point in the workshop I was talking about how misguided my original philosophy was of what students want from their teachers.  In the video, though, it is pretty much the only part they show so I’m quoted as saying something that is actually the opposite of what I think.  Note, though, that the corps member says that my workshop was the first time that anyone said how hard it could be — and this was one of the last days of the institute.  She also said that I didn’t give a lot of advice, which is a fair criticism.

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7 Responses to Short Documentary: A day in the life at TFA institute

  1. Corps Members at Institute saying:

    “Hey, I just met you,
    And this is crazy,
    But I’m the teacher
    So listen, maybe?”

    Thanks for sharing the video.

  2. Harold says:

    I vividly recall as a corps member staying up into the wee hours overworking a single lesson. I did not know at the time that good teaching is a marathon, requiring stamina, pacing, and extensive practice.

  3. Pingback: Remainders: A teacher’s if/then rules for the end of the year | GothamSchools

  4. Meghan Corman Pluimer says:

    I am so glad you posted this. I thought it was lost forever!

  5. nontfateacher says:

    I guess they don’t teach you about CHAMPS huh?
    CHAMPS is a good behavior management system that schools in Houston use.

    C: Conversation
    H:Help
    A: Activity
    M: Movement
    P: Participation
    S:Success—always striving for this

    You use it for different instructional times such as small group, workstations, hallway, outclass, whole group/guided practice.

    Try it out TFA. It works better than, stop talking, stop talking, sit down sit down sit down. Broken radio doesn’t work because it is not structured, it’s annoying.

    • Meghan Corman Pluimer says:

      To be fair, TFA didn’t teach us to repeat “sit down sit down sit down” to manage our classroom behavior. That misguided ineptitude was a combination of being brand new to teaching, brand new to those particular kids (in a weird fluke, we got switched to a new class a few weeks in), and nervous about the camera being there. Thankfully I was able to manage my classrooms in FAR better and more productive ways, with various TFA resources and support. This clip mortifies me, but it’s also good to see where you started and reflect on the humility of the learning process.

  6. Mr. K says:

    I see the food and the signage hasn’t changed much since 2002.. Hah.

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