What is a Teacher Residency?

Teachers & Principals | 03/14/2017

Mary Gardner
Government Affairs Director

Mary is the Government Affairs Director for Stand Indiana.

Thanks to the proliferation of medical shows on TV, most of us understand the concept of a residency: a stage of advanced training in which physicians practice medicine under the supervision of a more experienced doctor who has already completed their training. It’s a successful practice that has been around for over a century.

Recently, the concept of teacher residencies has been utilized in a handful of districts and cities across the United States. So, what is a teacher residency?

According to the National Center for Teacher Residencies, they are “district-serving teacher education programs that pair a rigorous full-year classroom apprenticeship with masters-level education content….[They] provide residents with both the underlying theory of effective teaching and a year-long, in-school ‘residency,’ in which they practice and hone their skills and knowledge alongside an effective teacher-mentor in a high-need classroom.”

Teacher residencies are designed to prepare teachers at a more advanced level with real-world experience, particularly to serve communities - such as urban and low-income districts - that have high rates of teacher burnout and teacher turnover. While most teachers walk away from their education and preparation programs with knowledge of education theory, teacher residencies make sure they walk away with classroom readiness and practice.

In Indiana’s current legislative session, lawmakers will vote on H.B. 1449, a bill that would establish an Indiana educator residency program and establish a fund to begin investing in these programs in school districts across the state. We at Stand Indiana recognize the importance this bill carries for Indiana’s students.

How do teacher residencies impact public education?

Ultimately, children benefit the most from a teacher residency program. Since the teachers are better prepared, they provide more effective instruction, they stay in the profession longer, and they are more adept at serving high-need students. All of these factors lead to higher student achievement and increased student engagement.

I think we’d all agree that we’d prefer to be treated by doctors who have had hands-on training with support from a mentor experienced in their field. Don’t our children deserve the same from their teachers?

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