Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America

Abby Goodnough

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Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America

Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America By Abby Goodnough Ms Moffett s First Year Becoming a Teacher in America In summer of legal secretary Donna Moffett answered an ad for the New York City Teaching Fellows program which sought to recruit talented professionals from other fields to teach in some of the

  • Title: Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America
  • Author: Abby Goodnough
  • ISBN: 9781586483807
  • Page: 436
  • Format: Paperback
  • Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America By Abby Goodnough In summer of 2000, legal secretary Donna Moffett answered an ad for the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which sought to recruit talented professionals from other fields to teach in some of the city s worst schools Seven weeks later she was in a first grade classroom in Flatbush, Brooklyn, nearly completely unprepared for what she was about to face New York TimeIn summer of 2000, legal secretary Donna Moffett answered an ad for the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which sought to recruit talented professionals from other fields to teach in some of the city s worst schools Seven weeks later she was in a first grade classroom in Flatbush, Brooklyn, nearly completely unprepared for what she was about to face New York Times education reporter Abby Goodnough followed Donna Moffett through her first year as a teacher, writing a frontpage, award winning series that galvanized discussion nationwide Now she has expanded that series into a book that, through the riveting story of Moffett s experiences, explores the gulf between the rhetoric of education reform and the realities of the public school classroom Ms Moffett s First Year is neither a Hollywood friendly tale of one person making a difference, nor a reductive indictment of the public education system It is rather a provocative portrait of the inadequacy of good intentions, of the challenges of educating poor and immigrant populations, and of a well meaning but underprepared woman becoming a teacher the hard way.While the story takes place in New York, Ms.Moffett s first year is a metaphor for the experiences of teachers everywhere in America, one that illuminates the philosophical, economic, political, and ideological dilemmas that have come and to determine their experience and their students experiences in the classroom.
    Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America By Abby Goodnough

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    One thought on “Ms. Moffett's First Year: Becoming a Teacher in America

    1. CatholicBibliophagist on said:

      Written by an education reporter for the New York Times, this book details the experiences of Donna Moffett, during her first year as a first grade teacher Previously an executive secretary for a law firm, she embarked on her second career by applying to be an Education Fellow, talented members of other professions who were being recruited to teach at troubled New York public schools It was hoped that their idealism, fresh outlook, and varied skills would leaven the educational establishment As [...]

    2. Debra on said:

      Reviewed January 22, 2010 read the book 2 or 3 times in 2009.This was my favorite book of 2009 I kept referring to it throughout the year.The funny thing is that I happened upon it by chance I had loved reading the New York Times articles featuring Moffett in 2000 and 2001 I had even saved them Early in 2009 I decided to Google her name and found that a book had been written based on that first year profiled in the New York Times Wow, what a difference between reading about Ms Moffett at breakfa [...]

    3. Liz on said:

      Curled up with this random pick from library tonight and finished in one day It journals the story of a fellow someone who left a regular career to go into teaching in a special program in NYC schools in 2000 This woman taught in a 1st grade class in one of the low performing, high poverty schools with 4 weeks of training I thoroughly enjoyed this for so many reasons I can see relatable elements to the challenges I see in the small % of time I spend volunteering at such a school, but I also see [...]

    4. Esther on said:

      In 2000, Donna Moffett quit her job as a legal secretary and became a Teaching Fellow with credentials to teach in New York City with only one month s worth of classes and the promise of free classes to earn a master s degree over two years while she taught in New York failing public schools The book covers her tough first year as a first grade teacher and also some of the politics and programs of NY public schools I wonder if I could have put up with what she did lack of administrative support, [...]

    5. Gretchen on said:

      Like so many teachers Ms Moffett is frustrated by the realities of urban public schools She certainly didn t go into teaching with her eyes opened This book doesn t portray her in a very positive light She often appears concerned about what she is getting out this not the needs of her students When she gets fed up and frustrated, she responds by snapping at the students, instead of recognizing that they have nothing to do the bureaucratic mess that she encounters.

    6. Joanna on said:

      A compelling and complex case study of one woman s first year as a NYC Teaching Fellow, having left her job as a legal secretary at age 45 and been handed control of a first grade classroom in Brooklyn The author, a NY Times education writer, chronicled Ms Moffett s story in the Times during the NYC Teaching Fellows first year in 2001 2 Several major changes were made to the program after a chaotic first year but many of the problems Goodnough discusses still remain in the system teacher retenti [...]

    7. Cortney on said:

      The title pretty much sums it up The author was a reporter who was following Ms Moffett, one of the alternatively certified teachers in New York s flagship Teaching Fellows program It s an interesting mix of the teacher s experiences with a lot of background info on the teacher shortage, budget crisis, and educational union politics that led to the Teaching Fellows program in the first place As someone currently pursuing an alternative certification master s degree in education route, this was r [...]

    8. Rachel on said:

      Being a teacher, I found this book interesting because it is about a woman who changed careers to become a teacher in a failing NYC elementary school The book was written by a newspaper reporter and had quite a bit of politics in it There were also some broad generalizations about education that I didn t agree with For example the author asserted that phonics proponents had embraced the standardized testing movement, saying that children must learn early that life is competitive, while the whole [...]

    9. Julie King on said:

      While this book deals with the dynamics of a new teacher and the consequences of No Child Left Behind, there is no doubt that the bureaucracy and top down approach to education have continued through programs such as Race To the Top and Common Core The book is an easy read and you feel for Donna as she approaches education with an idealistic attitude and is quickly faced with the reality of teaching in an inner city schools with poverty as a constant The idea of creating teachers through an alte [...]

    10. Amy on said:

      A middle aged woman leaves her job as a legal secretary to become a teacher in NYC by joining the Teaching Fellows program This book recounts her experiences during her first year in a Brooklyn elementary school As a former Fellow, I enjoyed reading about the issues she faced the same that all face working in a failing school I like that the book was written by a news reporter the story was originally told through a series of front page articles in the NYT , someone who visited her classroom thr [...]

    11. Kim on said:

      8 14 I have finally finished this book and I enjoyed it At times I found it sad and wondered what I would do in Ms Moffett s position However, at the same time I admired someone who looked up from her life and decided to do something different It took a bit of courage to change careers and to allow a reporter to record that change While teaching was not her first choice in life it became clear that through her dedication to the school and her students that is had become a calling 7 14 Still read [...]

    12. Amy Withers on said:

      I read this book before I started teaching It chronicles the first year of a teaching fellow I believe she teaches 2nd grade in Brooklyn At the time I remember thinking that the description seemed fairly accurate with lots of ups and downs Books about teachers who magically transform kids in one or two years annoy me, and this book seemed like an honest depiction of what teachers experience over the course of a year I ll have to read it again now that I m in the classroom.

    13. Terry on said:

      I ve heard over the years that Goodnough was out to get the NYTF program in general and even Moffett in particular, so perhaps take her subtle criticisms with a small grain of salt I personally truly enjoyed this book and have read it several times If you enjoyed The Great Expectations School by Dan Brown you ll enjoy this one.

    14. Adrienne on said:

      I was disappointed because I thought this book would talk about her experiences as a first year teacher There were a lot of chapters that went on about the education system in New York, which I found to be pretty boring I wanted to read about her emotions, accomplishments, struggles, and time spent in the classroom.

    15. Diana on said:

      When I got past the journalist s garb, I was able to really read a story about a woman who wanted to make a difference but was faced with difficult kids and an unsupportive school I wanted of Ms Moffet s words though, of her period, instead of the opinions and political stuff that makes up the book but that s just me I am a future teacher so I wanted to read of the experience.

    16. Cheri on said:

      I was interested in the experiences of a 1st year teacher going through the equivilant of the ACP program in New York It was written by a newspaper reporter who followed her class so it lacked some of the emotion it might have had written by Ms Moffett herself A little too much time was spent on the politic side, but an interesting story nonetheless.

    17. Jean on said:

      I m having a hard time getting through this While it s description intrigued me, it goes too deep into the actual NY education department s regulations, which makes it a bit boring I ll continue reading though.

    18. Kate on said:

      Despite the author s best efforts to understand what it was like for this teacher, it was obvious that it was written by an outsider who has never actually been in that position Nevertheless, the insight into the politics of the New York City educational system makes it an appealing read.

    19. Suzanne on said:

      Teaching isn t easy Poor children have challenges than a firm hand and idealism can fix Teaching is swaddled in bureaucracy Teaching has moments of brilliant joy Rich white people are surprised, nay shocked , by all of these things YAWN

    20. Alyssa on said:

      Reading this book during my first year of teaching, I felt a sense of solidarity with another new teacher through the ups and downs of becoming a teacher Her heart, her preparation, and her attachments and frustrations with students are relatable and heart breaking What a year, Ms Moffett.

    21. Rebecca on said:

      An excellent book the genuine, straightforward story of a New York Teaching Fellow s first year It paints an honest portrait of the struggles of Ms Moffet and the public school system in general with politics, bureaucracy and varying educational philosophy.

    22. Erin O. on said:

      This book shed a lot of light on the bureaucracy in the education system and the way different districts are going about trying to improve education in the United States It is also an interesting personal story about one first year teacher in a New York City elementary school.

    23. Colleen on said:

      About a first year NYC teaching fellow teacher who left a successful career to teach 1st grade in Flatbush, Bklyn Tells of the ups and downs of her first classroom, but than learning about teaching styles you understand the issues with the NYC school system.

    24. Abby Jean on said:

      i wasn t planning to become a teacher but this book ensured that i never would interesting perspectives on what s within the control of the teacher and what s determined by the school, district, and state.

    25. Joyce on said:

      Very good book with a lot of information and history about education in NYC.

    26. Jocardo on said:

      As a former NYC Teaching Fellow, I definitely related to her struggles, her stories and her kids.

    27. Katy on said:

      Great story, I loved it, anyone interested in being a teacher should read it I m so glad I randomly picked it up at Half Price Books

    28. Bernadine on said:

      Mid career shift from corporate work to teaching Strangely, her experiences teaching 1st grade are not all that different from mine at Pioneer Pacific LOL

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