Achievement First – Hartford, CT
About Achievement First: Achievement First is a non-profit charter school management organization that is creating a network of… Achievement First
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- Comp & Benefits
- Work/Life Balance
- Senior Management
- Culture & Values
- Career Opportunities
I have been working at Achievement First full-time (more than 3 years)Pros
I work with the most amazing teachers ever. They are my best friends, incredible role models for me in my own practice, and my biggest supporters. Additionally, I love our children dearly and they are why I come to school every morning even though I cry on the way to school. Teaching is my calling and I'm happy to get to stand in front of my babies.Cons
- I feel like a worse teacher than I was when I got here. I may have grown in terms of ability to lesson plan, but managing AF classes is far less effective than I was in a traditional public school.
- Very little praise for what you're doing right and instead just pressure to grow more, do this, do that. No one says thank you. No one values your contributions. Teachers take the blame for absolutely everything.
- Tons of red tape tasks every day and judgmental "feedback emails" if you don't complete. Every move I make is studied and tracked and then inevitably I have to follow up with in a GoogleDoc.
- Leadership -- both school and network -- is trying to stomp out individuality and make us into monkey teachers. They don't care what you bring to the table as a teacher or a person. They only care how well they can mold you into the "Teach Like A Champion" follow our strategies teacher. I wish I could make choices for my own classroom. I feel like I'm so easily replaceable. When I leave, they'll find someone else who can stomach the endless behavior narration drills.
- It feels like someone somewhere is serving Kool-Aid and all school leaders drink it. Do they really believe this stuff? Or have they just been at AF for so long that they're brainwashed?
- Forced to uphold ridiculous standards that kids and parents hate. Then you get yelled at by said kids and parents for upholding the standards. Ruins relationships.
- I love my children but I feel so desperately bad because they hate school. They hate learning. They see is as a prison. They're forced to sit at their desk all day because we can't let them be kids and move and make noise and make mistakes. Instead we have to plan every second of their day and require them to be silent at all times. Every moment is supposed to be a rigorous academic experience. We don't trust our children just like leadership doesn't trust teachers and so our kids hate school. We're doing them such a disservice. They have no agency, independence, compassion, kindness because we don't give them the skills and the space to learn.
- Every professional development hour must be used. Even if it means being forced to sit in sessions at lunch or sit through the 3rd or 4th PD on the same topic. There's absolutely no differentiated PD so if you're beyond your first two years teaching like I am, it's incredibly frustrating and holds you back from growing.
- As every single review has mentioned, horrible work life balance. I arrive at school every single day at 6:15 (often because I have meetings before 7AM) and stay until 8-9 to keep up.Advice to ManagementAdvice
School Leadership: listen to the critiques of your teachers and support staff. Ask for their input because everyone is holding back for fear of being judges and further belittled. Stop pressuring people and driving out talent, that way you can retain the incredible teachers in our building. Our kids deserve incredible teachers. Stop driving them out with insane expectations and one size fits all teaching. And lose all of the trackers and the follow up feedback emails, good heavens! Stop feeding people mumbo jumbo. Just be honest about what's happening.Doesn't RecommendNegative Outlook