A New Year of Teaching Fellows

It’s a big week at TNTP. We’ve started accepting applications for our 2014 TNTP Teaching Fellows programs, which help talented people become highly effective teachers through intensive, practice-based training and coaching.

I get really excited about this process every fall, because training new teachers is at the core of our mission: to help end educational inequality by ensuring that all students are taught by excellent educators. Over the past 14 years, we’ve trained more than 32,000 teachers to work in some of the country’s most challenging school environments. They’re making a big difference in cities like New York, where one out of every four math teachers is a NYC Teaching Fellow and Baltimore, where our Residents represent 13 percent of the entire teaching force.

As we’ve been writing about lately, we totally overhauled our training programs over the past two years. Aspiring Fellows who enter our programs next summer will focus on essential instructional skills, and they’ll spend their pre-service training period practicing these skills and refining them through hands-on coaching.

I could go on and on about why teaching is an incredible profession, but I’d rather share the perspective of one of our Teaching Fellows instead. Here’s NaToya Dingle, a 2012 TEACH Charlotte Teaching Fellow and current 8th grade science teacher, on her experience:

“I grew up in Charlotte in a single-parent home, and I know the very real stigma attached to a young person of color as she or he moves through grade school. I was drawn to the idea of undergoing a rigorous preparation program to groom me into a teacher who would challenge, educate and empower children, as my own teachers had done for me.

It wasn’t easy. Being a TNTP Teaching Fellow means surviving a tough summer before you start school: five or six weeks of pre-service training where you practice, receive constant feedback and practice again and again until you get your skills down cold. Then comes the start of the school year, and with the help of your coaches, the real test begins.

And that’s where the hard work during pre-service training pays off. I’ve seen great success in my classroom, and I attribute it to the skills and practice that I received from the TEACH Charlotte team. I still use the tips I received from master teachers every day: my students monitor their own progress based on daily exit tickets and quizzes, and we look at individual data trackers to assess what content areas they need to focus on more closely.

My 8th grade science students worked hard to achieve high grades this past year, and I was ecstatic to be able to recommend many of them for accelerated, honors and magnet programs. And I got some positive feedback from them directly, too.

‘I used to not like school because all of my teachers told me that I was bad, but you tell me that I am smart and you push me to make good grades and think about when I am being bad,’ one student wrote me in a surprise thank-you note. ‘I wish you could come with me to high school because I feel like I could get good grades to get into a good college if you were my teacher.’

That letter made me smile. With my coaches’ help, I had the confidence to walk into my classroom, set high goals and expectations and make sure that they were followed through. And with my students’ help, I had evidence that all my hard work was worth it.”

Teaching is a great honor and even greater joy. Now that our application season is open, please share information about our programs (you can find it here or on Facebook) with anyone you think is ready to become a Fellow.

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, stands in front of her students while introducing them to the captivating world of science

Imali Ariyarathne, seventh-grade teacher at Langston Hughes Academy, introduces her students to the captivating world of science.

About TNTP

TNTP is the nation’s leading research, policy, and consulting organization dedicated to transforming America’s public education system, so that every generation thrives.

Today, we work side-by-side with educators, system leaders, and communities across 39 states and over 6,000 districts nationwide to reach ambitious goals for student success.

Yet the possibilities we imagine push far beyond the walls of school and the education field alone. We are catalyzing a movement across sectors to create multiple pathways for young people to achieve academic, economic, and social mobility.

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