Of the 505 members of the Teach for America corps, 18 are natives of Maryland. Graduates of such colleges and universities as Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Lehigh, Bowdoin, Smith, Duke and the universities of Maryland and Michigan, they began their teaching assignments last week in New York City, New Orleans, Georgia, Los Angeles and Baton Rouge.
Matthew Wolfe of Ellicott City, a graduate of Loyola High Schooand the class of 1990 at Yale University, is teaching a fourth-grade class of 33 students in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of New York. He cites the lack of classroom discipline as a major problem in his school:
"My first impression is that the difficulties of teaching -- at least in New York City -- are much greater than we were told over the course of the summer training program. Teach for America attempted to be very progressive in its approach to teaching ... and I think that prepared us to teach in the suburbs, not in the inner cities where the traditional "teacher is boss" method might be better. So I think the curriculum needs changing, but that's very easily done. I'm proud of what I'm doing and what my colleagues are doing and of the program."
Ellen Rosenstock of Owings Mills, who graduated from Pikesville Senior High School and the University of Maryland, is teaching first grade in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area. She, too, views a lack of classroom discipline as a big roadblock to teaching.
"I'm feeling very overwhelmed. I've tried to teach what I learned during the summer -- that you shouldn't always discipline, that you should be interesting enough to hold their interest without disciplining, but it's just not working that way. It's hard to teach anything because everyone's running around. But the regular teachers have been great. I thought there would be resentment, but there isn't."