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Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Learning from Counternarratives in Teach For America: Moving from Idealism Towards Hope

Learning from Counternarratives in Teach For America: Moving from Idealism Towards Hope

by Sarah MatsuiSarah Matsui


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Grounded in the belief that hope comes from a place of reality, not necessarily popular ideology, this book explores the gap between designated and actual narratives within Teach For America. TFA founder Wendy Kopp stated that there is «nothing elusive» about successful teaching; people simply need to «work hard» and be «disciplined». Taking an inquiry stance, Sarah Matsui surveyed and interviewed 26 of her fellow corps members in the Greater Philadelphia region. Their counternarratives collectively problematize this standard reform rhetoric. Many are working hard, yet their stories and challenges are complex, elusive, and commonly self-described with the words «shame», «failure», and «isolating». Corps members reported experiencing new levels of fatigue, alcohol dependency, depression, and trauma during their two-year service commitment with TFA. Learning from Counternarratives in Teach For America utilizes multiple frameworks to analyze the depth and range of corps members’ experiences. Relevant to helping professionals and people working to address constructed systems of inequity, this book ultimately advocates for a more honest, contextualized, and egalitarian approach to reform – one that openly addresses both individual and systemic realities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433128127
Publisher: Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Publication date: 07/17/2015
Series: Counterpoints Series: Studies in Criticality , #472
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Sarah Matsui holds a BA in urban studies and a MSEd In secondary math education from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught middle school math and is an alumna of the 2011 Teach for America Greater Philadelphia Cohort.

Table of Contents

Contents: Counternarratives and the Complexity of a Fuller Truth – Examining the «TFA Script» – Unexpected Life Changes Teaching in TFA: Counseling, Medical Prescriptions, Weight Changes, Increased Alcohol Consumption, Strained Relationships, Fatigue – The Reality of Trauma in TFA – TFA’s Culture of Guilt and Shame – The Complex, Politicized Process of TFA and CM Identity Development – TFA Idealism and the Hero Teacher Narrative – Listening and Learning from Counternarratives: Moving From Idealism Towards Hope.

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