Inspired Teaching Residency

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We’ve observed how effectively Inspired Teaching’s teachers engage students in the learning process, stimulating inquiry and imagination. Kids love learning in this setting; it’s a great dropout prevention!

— Diana Davis Spencer, President of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation
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Apr 20 02:27 pm

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The Residency Model

The seamless connection between theory and practice, provided through the residency model, ensures that Inspired Teaching Fellows are better prepared for the challenges of teaching in urban classrooms.

How to best prepare new teachers has been the focus of countless discussions, debates and research initiatives. A highly qualified teaching workforce is the single greatest leverage point for assuring that all students achieve their full potential. Increasing the stability, training, and support of the teaching corps, especially in underserved schools, helps to assure that all children experience the high quality teaching and stimulating learning experiences they deserve.

While discussions around filling the vacancies in urban classrooms most often focuses on the idea of teacher shortages, research indicates that the challenges of filling vacancies in urban schools is, instead, the result of the teachers leaving their classrooms long before the possibility of retirement.1 Given the continued flight of teachers from urban schools, simply recruiting new professionals is clearly not enough. Getting teachers to stay in classrooms is equally if not more important. The Inspired Teaching Residency endeavors to address this teacher retention problem – not put a band-aid on what is misidentified as the teacher shortage problem.

Just like physicians who begin working in a teaching hospital, teachers need supportive and structured environments to develop the skills to become high-quality educators. Residency programs are structured to avoid some of the ‘pitfalls’ associated with other paths to teacher certification, including an abbreviated curriculum for professional coursework; insufficient clinical and field experiences prior to becoming the teacher of record; too few opportunities to learn content and how to teach it simultaneously; and limited professional support aimed at fostering collaboration and reflective practice. The unique structure of residency programs provide participants a full year to develop the skills of engaging diverse students, managing classrooms, and planning effective lessons.

The design of the program—a teaching residency that prepares committed individuals for careers in the urban classroom—links DC’s need to retain highly-qualified teachers with passionate individuals who are eager to become career teachers in the District. Fellows are well-prepared, supported, and ready to take on their own classrooms and begin long term careers in these schools. The experience and knowledge gained during the teaching residency is designed to decrease professional turnover and ensure high-quality teachers for DC students in low-income communities.



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1(Ingersoll, 2001)

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