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News & Press: TCPI News

UTC: Skilled Teachers, Measurable Results

Tuesday, February 11, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alex Shyu
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January 2014
Dear Friends,


The new year marks an important transition for the residents currently in training with Urban Teacher Center. After the winter holiday, our residents entered new host classrooms, taking on the lead teacher role for a full two weeks in January. They will stay in these new host classrooms through June as they solidify their skills and take on increasing responsibilities for instruction.


The mid-year host classroom switch is a deliberate part of the UTC design. Over their 13-month residency, which includes two summers and two semesters of student teaching, UTC's aspiring teachers work in a total of four classroom settings. Through these multiple experiences, they have opportunities to try out increasingly complex teaching practices with students. As a result, when UTC residents enter classrooms of their own, they begin with a level of confidence and experience far beyond typical new teachers.


In this newsletter, we share more of the thinking behind UTC's unique approach to student teaching and how the multi-stage residency year helps us guarantee excellent new teachers from day one.


Wishing you a productive and happy new year, as we work together toward a great teacher every time.


Jennifer and Christina
UTC's Guarantee:
A Great Teacher, Every Time
Have you seen our newest publication?
These stories from the field illustrate how UTC makes a difference in urban schools through an intensive, four-year teacher preparation program. Read the stories of two teachers who've trained with UTC, and hear what our lead clinical faculty have learned about what it takes to guarantee a great teacher every time.
A Classroom Residency, Times Four
The Urban Teacher Center provides aspiring educators with four different opportunities to teach students before they become teachers of record. What do those four opportunities look like?
  • Summer 1: Co-teach or lead teach in a four-week summer school program.
  • Semester 1:Work side-by-side with a host teacher for a full semester, taking increasing responsibility for instruction.
  • Semester 2:Work with a host teacher in a new classroom, acting as lead teacher for two weeks in January and four full weeks in the spring.
  • Summer 2: Lead instruction in a different, four-week summer program.
In addition to these whole-class experiences, UTC residents work closely with a small group of students throughout their second semester, using strategies from their practicum course to boost the skills of students who may be behind in literacy or math.
Increasing Responsibilities...
Over the course of the year, residents take on greater classroom responsibilities, for example, moving from leading warm-up exercises in September to taking over a period per day in the winter.


In addition, UTC requires four periods of formal "student teaching," of increasing length and intensity. Residents must complete three days of paired teaching with another resident in October, two days of solo instruction in November, two weeks of lead teaching in January, and four full weeks in the spring.


... and Increasing Skills
Residents' skills grow through coursework, clinical assignments, and practice. Early in the year, residents work on foundational skills, like planning lessons, setting up effective classroom management practices, and establishing a "teacher voice." By the end of the year, residents are focused on more sophisticated skills, like fostering academic conversations.


UTC Director of Curriculum and Professional Development Roxanne White explains the typical trajectory: "In the first semester of the residency, we see a lot of their work as emerging. They're doing a lot of work in getting to know students and what grade-level work looks and sounds like. By second semester, they can use all of this information and all of the approximations that they've made in first semester to begin to solidify some of those practices."


Much More than Your Average Practicum
Roxanne sees an enormous difference between UTC and common student teacher experiences: "Many student teaching experiences in teacher preparation programs are much shorter stints without the direct supervision and support that our folks receive from their clinical faculty."


UTC assigns every resident a coach, who works with them across all of their student teaching assignments, supporting, challenging, and providing valuable feedback. Coaches provide a minimum of 40 hours of support to each resident, including one-on-one lesson planning sessions, focused observations with on-the-spot feedback, and structured classroom observations that include a formal pre-conference and debrief.
Experienced Teachers, from Year One
"When our fellows become teachers of record for the first time, they have already had a year under their belts," Roxanne says. As a result, the vast majority of UTC's first-year teachers achieve student-learning gains on par with second-year teachers.


By the time they take on their own classrooms, UTC participants have experienced several groups of students, including a mix of grade levels. They are familiar with urban school environments, and have experience navigating the system. And perhaps most importantly, "They know what good teaching and learning looks like," says Roxanne. "They've had explicit instruction and guided field practice in enacting all of those important skills."


In short, UTC fellows are truly ready to teach.
In This Issue
New at UTC
Why Teach?
In our newest video, "Why Teach?," UTC fellows and residents share the experiences and beliefs that inspired them to teach in underserved urban schools. Their passion is infectious! Watch it here.


Are you ready to do what it takes to become an excellent urban teacher? Know someone who might? UTC's next application deadline is February 15th. Get more details, and pass them along to an aspiring teacher!
UTC on the Web
Ready to Teach
A three-part series by Greater Greater Education explores routes to teacher certification and the challenges new teachers often face. UTC fellow Meghan Quigley discusses the difference a full-year residency with UTC made as she took on a classroom of her own.


Part I: Is there any way to make new teachers more effective?
Part II: How do you learn to keep a classroom from spiraling out of control?
Part III: Training is important, but all new teachers need on-the-job help.

Servant Leadership & Beyond
In honor of Dr. King, UTC's Dionn Brown shares her journey as a "servant leader" in education on Jumpstart's blog. Dionn began her career in education as a Jumpstart Corps member before becoming a teacher and, now, the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Professional Development (Math/Science) for UTC. Read more.
UTC Around Town
Alternative Routes to Special Education
UTC's Katryna Andrusik and Lesley University's Beth Montanaro presented at the 36th annual conference of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, discussing the growth in (and demand for) alternative certification programs for special educators.


Teaching for Readiness
UTC's Roxanne White spoke at Achieve's Annual Meeting for State Leadership and National Partners, joining three other leaders from K-12 and higher education to discuss how teachers can be prepared to bring college- and career-ready standards to life in the classroom.


Innovations in Teacher Prep
UTC's Christina Hall joined representatives from three other teacher preparation programs in a January Democrats for Education Reform panel, discussing innovative approaches to teacher preparation.
Learning to Teach
UTC co-hosted the 8th "Learning to Teach" convening of university and alternative teacher preparation programs.

On the Road
UTC's recruitment team is still traveling around the country. See where they'll be next.
Stay Connected


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