The linchpin of many successful teacher preparation programs around the country is the Teacher in Residence (TIR). By funding a TIR position in your department, you will have a central person who is involved in nearly every aspect of the teacher preparation program, and can manage the crucial challenges institutions face in building a successful program.
What is The Teacher in Residence?
A TIR is typically
- Involved in all aspects of the physics teacher education program
- Tasked with leading recruitment and teaching-specific mentorship efforts
- Recruited from the pool of physics teacher graduates and/or a master teacher at nearby high schools
PhysTEC’s Teacher in Residence Field Manual by Jon Anderson is a helpful tool for those wishing to implement a TIR position and for TIRs themselves.
What a Teacher in Residence Can Do for Your Program
Recruit Future Teachers
An experienced teacher knows the rewards and challenges of teaching best. TIRs can recognize promising future teachers, give them an enthusiastic sales pitch, and knowledgeably answer questions. It is crucial to ensure the TIR is visible within the department and has opportunities to meet potential teachers.
Manage Learning Assistant (LA) Programs
TIRs are ideal for recruiting, leading courses for, and mentoring LAs as they progress through a teacher preparation program.
Teach Methods and Content Courses for Future Teachers
A TIR brings recent classroom experience into courses for future teachers. In addition, teaching enables the TIR to get to know the students and vice versa. A TIR who teaches courses is also far more likely to attract permanent institutional funding and increase institutional commitment.
Design New Courses for Future Teachers
Master teachers' first-hand knowledge of the classroom and of inquiry-based teaching can inform pedagogy courses such as the one Learning Assistants take.
Build Bridges Between Physics Departments, Education Schools, and Local School Districts
TIRs are professionals in both physics and education and are thus in a perfect position to bridge these two often-separated worlds. In addition, TIRs bring strong connections to local school districts and can facilitate relationships between physics faculty and local school teachers and administrators.
Supervise Field Experiences and Mentor Student Teachers
TIRs are well connected in the local school system and can place student teachers in supportive classrooms where they will be able to flourish and grow.
Mentor Recent Program Graduates
TIRs usually make the best mentors as they have the advantage of being familiar with a new teacher's institution environment and, in many cases, of having already formed a relationship with the new teacher.
Develop a Professional Learning Community
As someone with visibility in the department and connections to local schools, the TIR is the perfect individual to develop a professional learning community that supports beginning teachers and reduces their isolation.
Apply for Grants
TIRs may have ideas for and knowledge about education-related funding opportunities.
Mentor Their Replacement
School districts and principals are often, and understandably, reluctant to release a master teacher for a year. Your TIR can mitigate this to some extent by working with their replacement to make that teacher as effective as possible. This is an important way to give back to a school or district.
Recruiting a Teacher in Residence
Understand the Scope of This Undertaking
Finding an experienced teacher, with the expertise you need at a particular time and then convincing them to leave the classroom for a year or more can be a challenging and time-intensive process. Institutions have found excellent TIRs in many different places.
Get to Know Your School District
Make sure to develop the proper relationships to facilitate the TIR hiring process. This can also help your TIR avoid losing status within their school if they return after working at your institution. Additionally, ensure the school district receives something in return for lending you an experienced teacher.
Utilize Conventional and Unconventional Recruiting Strategies
Website job postings, mailings, and good old word of mouth are all effective TIR recruiting strategies.
Your children or those of your colleagues are great at identifying quality teachers. Potential TIR candidates are engaging, clear communicators, and have passion for their work.
Organize a Professional Learning Community or Teacher Advisory Group (TAG)
Developing a community of teachers around your institution will give you the connections you need to find good candidates.
Look for a TIR Among People Already Involved with Your Institution
Look to successful completers of your program or participants from workshops and/or summer institutes you have offered. Other candidates are those who work as adjuncts or in grant-funded positions at your institution.
If you will be using a one- or two-year cycle, rather than a permanent position, use your current TIR to recruit your next one. Experienced teachers usually have lots of contacts in the local physics teacher community, and may be able to suggest some good candidates.