Letters | 4-29-14


TFA teachers are invaluable to our students’ education

I am a teacher at Waikoloa. I have been a certified teacher since 2010. Although I did graduate from a formal teacher certification program, joining Teach For America has made me a far more effective teacher. I think people often wonder if TFA teachers would consider what they are doing for their students on a daily basis as what they’d want their own son or daughter to have in a classroom teacher.

I can say that I have experienced firsthand what our teachers do for the children they teach through having my brother taught by one of our TFA teachers. My brother started the year not passing the Hawaii state assessment, and now is about to end the year with above average scores. This teacher had a tremendous impact in my brother’s confidence and success.

He is now on the track for college and career readiness. Much of his achievement can be attributed to the assistance he received in her class. Without his teacher’s dedication, my brother, Kyle, would not be as successful as he is now.

I have noticed a pattern with all TFA teachers, many of whom are kamaaina. Their dedication is above reproach. Without TFA teachers many students would not receive the extra support and encouragement they need. It breaks my heart to hear that funding for the nonprofit organization could be eliminated from the Big Island. The effect that TFA teachers have on students is invaluable. There are numerous students, like my brother, who deserve the opportunity to benefit from such a driven group of teachers. Hawaii has made huge gains in our educational system. Eliminating Teach For America would be a huge set back and an incredible disservice to our children.

Tonya Duncan

Third grade Special Education teacher

Waikoloa