Alt. Cert. Educators Could Teach Sonia Nieto a Lesson!
Recently I attended a lecture given by Sonia Nieto, the education guru who wrote/edited Why We Teach and What Keeps Teachers Going, among many others. If you’re a teacher on the East Coast and you work with any students near the poverty line, I’m pretty sure you have a good idea about who I’m talking about. This woman is revered in the educational community because of her drive to promote a “passion for social justice” and cultural diversity, but I just want to know why she disregards Teaching Fellows and Teach for America teachers.
The lecture itself wasn’t so great, a lot of Hallmark Card-isms about what makes a great teacher, and how important it is for educators to have a “mission of fighting injustice,” but during the Q&A session in an auditorium that consisted solely of teachers with alternative certification Nieto solidly stood by her traditional teaching roots, even while trumpeted the need for teachers to be creative and to fight for their students rights.
Well let me tell you something, Sonia Nieto: Teaching Fellows sink or swim. Either they teach and teach well, or they quit under the pressure. Teaching Fellows get seven weeks of training and then the spotlight is on, and the show begins. If it doesn’t take an enormous amount of bravery to face a classroom of students on the first day of school after a perfunctory training and not run screaming after the first week…what does? Teaching Fellows can think outside the box, Ms. Nieto, because we come from outside the box. Fellows usually hold other jobs before teaching, and bring those experiences to the classroom. I'm not saying every single Alt. Cert. teacher is a boon to the profession, but don’t hate on us, Sonia Nieto, we’re doing the best we can!