The inaugural group of resident teachers includes (from left to right) Emma Wise ’21, Med. ’22; Julia Howard Mead. ’22; Caitlin Hess Made. ’22; Emily Salmon 21, med. ’22; Ashley sell med. ’22; and Shona Park 21, Med. 22. Not pictured Carson Spencer ’21, med. 22.
Written by Julie Tucker, W&M School of Education
January 13, 2022
As schools nationwide struggle with staff shortages, policy makers and school departments are looking for ways to boost the flow of teachers and provide deeper support for pre-service and junior teachers. Through a new partnership between William & Mary and Newport News Public Schools (NNPS), the Teachers in Residence program offers aspiring educators financial and professional support as they pursue a master’s degree in teaching, in return for a commitment to teach in the department upon graduation.
“Research shows that this type of apprenticeship, where students receive in-depth training with a master teacher as they complete coursework, is very effective in preparing students for a teaching career, particularly in high-need school environments and urban schools,” says Lindy Johnson, Associate Professor and Principal Department of Curriculum and Instruction at William & Mary.
Any student who has been accepted into master’s degree programs in Primary education And Secondary English education The two areas that the NNPS has identified as current high-needs areas may apply to the programme. Students receive $9,000 toward tuition, plus a stipend of up to $20,000. Students must commit to teaching at Newport News Public Schools for three years after graduation.
Now the second cohort is being recruited, the program is a full year internship, where student teachers are placed in class with a cooperating teacher for the full 180-day academic year. The program doubles the number of days students spend in class during their training. The NNPS also provides additional training and support, including an educational coach and cohort-based thinking activities.
The ability to work alongside a head teacher and build early relationships with the school community is very valuable, the resident teachers say.
“Being a full-time teacher in residence has allowed me to engage with my students in the classroom every single day,” says Shauna Park ’21, med. 22. “Because I am always present in class, students view me as one of their teachers rather than an observer, which helped establish a professional relationship between us while developing a sense of community.”
The increased time in the classroom also gives resident teachers greater opportunities to experiment, test new ideas, and practice the strategies they learn in their classes.
“It really allows me to make connections between my coursework and classroom experiences and observations,” says Emily Salmon ’21, MAEd. 22. “It is also good to be able to see the most realistic and practical applications of what we learn in class and to know how to adapt to the needs of the students and the school.”
The program is intense, and students say careful time management is essential. After spending the school day at their Newport News places, they return to campus in the afternoons several times a week for classes, often staying in the evenings.
“The challenges were learning how to balance everything,” says Emma Wise ’21, MAEd. 22. “I am very fortunate that my helpful teacher supports me and my academic work, as she makes my homework a priority while planning our lesson. As this school year is still happening during the pandemic, we have students in and out of the classroom in quarantine, so I learn a lot of advocacy and resilience” .
Despite the challenges, the dorm teachers say being with their students every day motivates and inspires them, and gives them motivation to keep moving forward.
“One of the greatest pleasures I have been working in the residency program is building relationships with my students,” Park says. “I entered the program not sure what high school level I would get into, but I realized that I really love working with middle school and am committed to teaching in this class when I graduate.”