By Anna Chaney
My name is Anna Chaney and I am the mother of an elementary school student in the Indianapolis public school system.
I am a firm believer in developing and delivering teacher residency plans in our IPS schools. I believe they are very important in training teachers to be qualified and prepared for the classroom and the real issues that take place with students in school.
What these teaching residencies need desperately is funding. Funding that puts teachers in our low-income, high-need schools. Funding that gives teachers the hands-on experience they need to succeed and become highly-qualified, full-time teachers. Funding that invests in our teachers and helps keep them in our public schools for the long-term.
To do a job right, everyone needs hands-on training. Would we want a doctor to be able to perform brain surgery just out of medical school? Or do we want doctors to work under the supervision of an experienced brain surgeon who they can learn from to avoid drastic mistakes?
That’s why doctors can’t practice on their own until they have completed a residency requirement with a qualified doctor.
I believe that teaching our children is as important as brain surgery. Teachers are performing brain surgery each and every day educating our babies.
I also believe the best place to train a teacher is in a real classroom. New teachers need hands-on experience. And when they’re trained better they are more likely to stick around in the school they were trained in.
In fact, some residency programs report five-year retention rates as high as 70%. These are the kind of numbers we need to make sure we keep good teachers in our schools. Residency programs also create a vehicle to recruit teachers for high-needs fields like special education, and high-needs locations like our low-income urban communities. They provide mentoring and an experienced hand that helps new teachers get through the rough spots. And lastly, residency programs provide financial incentives that helps keep teachers in the school districts that have invested in them.
With proper funding, effective residency plans can make all the difference in providing quality teachers to every IPS student.