By Public Impact, March 18, 2022
A recording of February’s “Trends in the Teacher Workforce” webinar, featuring a panel discussion moderated by Public Impact’s Alison Harris Welcher, is available now; click here to watch it and read EdNC’s report on the event, hosted by The Belk Foundation.
The panelists discussed strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers in North Carolina, including teacher residencies.
That’s a strategy that multiple Opportunity Culture school districts in Texas now use. Unlike traditional student-teacher roles, Opportunity Culture residencies are yearlong, paid positions on teaching teams led by multi-classroom leaders.
Panelist Meghan Harris, a multi-classroom leader at Governor’s Village STEM Academy in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, compared the yearlong role with her experience as a student teacher, when she did once-a-week pop-ins for the first semester, missing a lot of crucial information. In contrast, she said, yearlong residencies can “prepare a teacher for what the start to the end of the year might look like, and what work is involved with it. I’m a firm believer in being very transparent. Teaching is a hard job, so we want to be able to set teachers up for success in understanding the commitment they are making.”
And, Welcher noted, not only can residents have that experience throughout the year, but under the direction of a highly effective multi-classroom leader, residents also “can get really deep experience with students through small-group tutoring, which we’re seeing from research is going to have a huge impact.”
Paid residencies also open a pathway for a more diverse group of prospective teachers, Welcher said. “Everyone doesn’t have the privilege of being a full-time student, student teaching, and trying to be a teacher, so the residency actually provides that, which we know is going to create more equitable access, socioeconomically but also racially.”