The MEGnitude of Change

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 20 2013


Being good takes time.

How much time? According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes (on average) 10,000 hours to become proficient at any talent — playing chess, cooking, and yes, teaching.

Admittedly, I haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, but I would have to agree with this general concept. When we decide to master something, we simply need to put ourselves out there — day after day, time and again. We need to make mistakes, to fail, in order to succeed.

Yet, as TFA teachers, we walk into our classrooms on day one with a maximum of 25 hours under our belt — well below the 10,000 average. Even after a full year of teaching, we’re tapping out at around 1,000 hours (not including planning or tutoring).

What is the purpose of this blog entry? Maybe just to wonder at how limited we are in TFA, how limited our time is. The solution to improving our educational system has to incorporate those who simply have more time than we do. I firmly believe TFA would do well to involve more seasoned veterans into our training, in addition to MTLDs and other staff members.

If we can’t walk in as masters, we can certainly seek out help from those who have more hours under their belts than we do.

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My journey in mathematics and beyond

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