Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools: Part 8
In this chapter, KIPP Model teachers talk about what it was like to teach in a No Excuses charter school.
You may find earlier chapters by googling on the blog post title above. You may preview a copy here, or you may purchase a copy of Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys through "No Excuses" Teaching at any online book store or from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
What Was It Like to Teach at KIPP?
I just feel like KIPP has left this doubt that no matter what I do, I’m just not good enough. (1183)
Most former KIPP teachers expressed grave reservations about recommending KIPP to others as a place to teach. The question I asked all teachers was a variant of this one: If I were a friend interested in applying for a teaching job at KIPP, and I asked you, ‘what was it like there,’ what would you tell me? One teacher told me that he loved “the people there,” but he did not love the KIPP system that made life hard:
Ten-hour days with students is definitely taxing on the teacher. You have no life. KIPP is your life. Even when you are done with the children at 5:00, you might have [students] after school or at the same time you are definitely developing lesson plans. . . .Because the way they have it set up, we didn’t really get time to plan our formal lessons; we were hired in June, and I started in June. I didn’t really get the time to really plan any kind of lessons at all . . . we had a week’s worth of planning but that first week before school started we went to a KIPP Summit.
You really don’t have a life at all; that is what I would definitely tell them. It’s easy for you to get a job with them because you don’t have to have education as your major, so I would tell them yes, that’s a positive about it and yes you do get paid more than you would in the [public] school system, but it’s still a lot of work, a lot of work.
Other teachers were more graphic in their response to the question. A teacher who remained under the care of a therapist when I talked with her, said this:
I would say that working at KIPP was the most horrible experience of my life. I would tell people that, I would tell a friend especially, that the message is good with KIPP, that you want to send all kids to and through college, but it is at such great personal sacrifice that it’s—it crushed me. I would encourage anyone else to just stop. It wasn’t even getting fired that was the worst thing for me. It Schools Matter: Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools: Part 8: