Belmont’s Metro Nashville Urban Teacher Residency

One of my favorite teacher preparation programs at Belmont is our Teacher Residency Program. I think I am so fond of the program because it is intended to directly address the incredible need we have for highly-trained, effective classroom teachers in our hardest-to-fill classrooms in urban school districts. For those unfamiliar with the idea of teacher residency, it’s a pretty simple concept and it just makes sense. The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) defines teacher residencies as, “district-serving teacher education programs that pair a rigorous full-year classroom apprenticeship with masters-level education content.” As you probably recognize, the model is built on the medical residency model.

Belmont’s residency model is in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and NCTR. Through the program, students can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) in one calendar year, while employed by MNPS as an instructional aide. Residents complete coursework on campus at Belmont during the summer prior to the school year. Then, they work under the supervision and mentorship of a master teacher in MNPS for one school year, while also receiving support and mentorship from Belmont faculty and completing additional coursework in the evenings. To be sure, the program is rigorous and extremely demanding, and it is only appropriate for those who are sure they want to pursue a career in teaching, and who are willing to put in a tremendous amount of time and effort into preparing to be an effective classroom teacher.

But for those who are serious about preparing for a teaching career, consider the benefits of the residency model. Not only are residents receiving academic coursework that provides the foundational and theoretical grounding to be an effective teacher; but also, while earning a salary, they are able to spend an entire academic year under the tutelage of an expert. We have known for many years from the scholarly research on teacher preparation that clinical preparation models are the most effective way to prepare teachers. The residency model takes that to heart and makes clinical preparation the centerpiece of the preparation program. Few teachers candidates get the opportunity to prepare for the demands of the classroom in this way, but frankly, most of us would have been much better prepared to teach in year one if we had had such an experience.

Admissions requirements for Belmont’s teacher residency program include having a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, passing scores on the Praxis Content Knowledge assessment that corresponds to your intended area of teaching/certification (Tennessee cut scores), and a score at the 50th percentile or higher on the ACT, SAT, GRE, MAT, or Praxis Core assessments.

We are currently recruiting for our cohort of residents to begin in summer 2020. If you or someone you know has a bachelors degree and is interested in earning a masters degree and pursuing a career in teaching in Nashville, please contact me (wayne.lewis@belmont.edu) or our incredible Urban Teacher Residency Director, Dr. Darcie Finch (darcie.finch@belmont.edu). Either of us would be delighted to talk with candidates who want to explore a graduate degree and a teaching career in Nashville.

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