There are many ways to get your teaching credential in California. Enrolling in a traditional credential program after finishing your college bachelor’s degree is one way, but did you know there are many other routes into teaching? One option gaining popularity is called a teacher residency program.
A teacher residency program will match you with a carefully chosen mentor teacher to guide you as you gradually learn to plan lessons and support students throughout the school year. You will work side-by-side with your mentor in the classroom, and you will study throughout the year with a group of other student teachers who take coursework together (your cohort) and learn from each other’s experiences to become a skilled and effective teacher prior to taking on your own classroom. In addition to the benefits of how residencies are designed, student teachers receive financial support in residencies; for example, some residency programs offer stipends towards living expenses. Another exciting fact about residencies is that graduates of residency programs tend to stay in the education profession at high rates, and research indicates that teacher residency programs are especially effective in recruiting and retaining Black educators.. You can learn more about the key features of effective residency programs by reading the article ‘Key Characteristics of Effective California Teacher Residency Programs.’
Teacher residency programs vary. According to the article ‘Preparing future educators: Group of students pursuing credential participating in new special education residency programs,’ prospective teachers who are enrolled in the California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) program do the following:
Heather Weatherman, a participant in the CSUB program, said she was looking for a way to work with educators to get classroom experience to develop a strong foundation for teaching special education. "I think it’s amazing that CSUB started this, and I’m glad they were able to do it in Greenfield," Heather said. "I think this was the best choice I could have made. I would recommend this path to anyone who wants to teach special education."
There are many benefits to a teacher residency program, including:
Yes! The 2021 and 2022 California state budget included $350 million for grants to support Local Education Agencies as they partner with Commission-approved teacher preparation programs. These grants help programs expand, strengthen, improve access to, or create teacher residency programs. Learn more about these grants on the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) website.
Start by finding a teacher credentialing program in your area that includes a residency program that meets your needs. You can approach this in two ways:
The California Center on Teaching Careers, housed at the Tulare County Office of Education, offers a teacher residency program called the Teacher Residency for Rural Education (TRRE) Project. This program is run in partnership with California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB), Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District (COJUSD), Dinuba Unified School District (DUSD), Porterville Unified School District (PUSD), Tulare Joint Union High School District (TJUHSD), Visalia Unified School District (VUSD), and Woodlake Unified School District (WUSD).
The TRRE program is for graduate students seeking to obtain a single subject credential with a focus in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) while earning a Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in curriculum & instruction. The program’s benefits include:
The Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency (LAUTR) is an intensive program that leads to earning a teaching credential and master’s degree at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). Designed to equip future teachers in secondary Math, Science, and Special Education to close the achievement gap in high-need urban schools, this 18-month graduate-level program offers an opportunity for teacher residents to work alongside outstanding mentor teachers for an entire school year.
You can watch a video interview about the program that discusses the benefits of co-teaching and how it helps teacher residency participants grow and perfect their teaching craft. To learn more about LAUTR’s teacher residency program, visit https://golautr.com/.