ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Teach for America and the Machine Metaphor of Organizational Theory

Updated on December 18, 2012
Source

Kiva Bottero defines the machine metaphor of organizational theory as follows:

The machine metaphor applies most to mechanized, routinized organizations like factories and the public service. Characterized by a need to create clearly defined roles for workers, these organizations tend to perform at high levels while dehumanizing their workers.

According to Taylor’s principles of scientific management, the selection of the organization’s members is key to ensuring its effectiveness and efficiency. Teach For America is extremely selective of its corps members, and prospective corps members are thrust into a rigorous, three-step application process that includes a lengthy online application, a 30-minute phone interview, and a full-day in-person interview where applicants present a sample lesson and participate in a group exercise. In 2009, 35,000 individuals applied for the program, and about 4,000 were selected to serve. The corps members earned an average GPA of 3.6 and had a combined SAT score of 1333; also, 89 percent held leadership positions as undergraduates students at some of the nation’s most prominent schools (2009 Annual Report).

Similar to how materials proceed through the production process to be developed and refined into an end product, individuals are expected to attend the rigorous five-week Summer Training Institute to become skilled, knowledgeable teachers ready to serve in low-income communities. After completing the Institute, during which corps members teach summer school and take training courses, they begin their two-year commitment teaching during the school day, attending night classes to earn a Master’s degree or teaching credentials, and then planning lessons and activities for the next day. While corps members are given the opportunity to be creative in their lessons and teaching styles, they conform to the general guidelines and requirements set by TFA to receive their credentials and successfully complete the program in accordance to the lofty standards of the prestigious organization.

There is a structural hierarchy within TFA. Outside of the Leadership Team, which includes the chief executive officer, president, and other members of management, there are 1,500 staff members divided among seven areas of responsibility including Finance and Infrastructure, Growth Strategy and Development, Human Assets, Marketing, Public Affairs, Program, and Regional Operations and Regions. There are 25 regional offices with an executive director, program directors, and other support staff who manage the corps members for their geographic area.

As with any educational institution or program, the focus is often on the numbers. Much effort is put into measuring and documenting the impact of the corps members on student achievement. Every year, Teach for America publishes an annual report in addition to other documents to demonstrate this impact, and as it strives for publicity, the organization encourages the media and other outside sources to report on its success; from 2008 to 2009, the number of articles written on TFA increased 125 percent (Teach for America, 2009). In addition, the organization must meet expectations in order to continue to receive funding.

With such an emphasis on results, it is possible that the consideration of corps member needs may be minimized. TFA does its best to control its environment and address the cause of any problems. Support is offered to struggling corps members through coaching and online forums, but this is to ensure that they continue to perform and meet goals. In a sense, the corps members are cogs in the machine designed to eliminate educational inequality.

The demanding nature of the experience takes its toll on the corps members; 12 percent do not complete the two-year commitment (Toppo, 2008), more than half leave their placement school after two years, and about 80 percent leave after three years (Heilig, 2010). In addition, the TFA training programs are much shorter than most teacher education programs, which typically run from one to two years; this may result a lower-quality “end-product.”

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      7 years ago from Central New Jersey

      I met a young woman who is part of "Teach for America" in Texas last winter. Really impressed by her and by the program-- one of the good things going on in America these days. Thanks for writing about it.

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 

      7 years ago

      Great hub I really enjoyed it.

      rorshak sobchak

    • incomeguru profile image

      Oyewole Folarin 

      7 years ago from Lagos

      I hope other folks too should be able to come up with useful hub like yours. Voted up|

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)