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Benefits of Choosing a Teacher Residency

The application for the 2022 NYU Teacher Residency is now closed. Application information for the 2023 Teacher Residency will be available in August.

Choosing to become a teacher is the first step toward a career that impacts the lives of many people. The next step – what route you’ll take to a degree and certification – is often met with a lot of questions, such as:

  • What program will best prepare me for the classroom?
  • How can I serve all children’s learning needs?
  • What does it feel like to instruct a class?
  • The world is changing; how do I figure out what students need to succeed in the 21st century?


For a long time, teacher education focused on learning and pedagogical theory, with minimal time spent in actual classrooms. Time for practice – that is, actually instructing in front of a class – was secondary to course work. Over the years, this began to shift as new programs addressed the need for more prepared, diverse candidates in the profession.

This is a time of fast-paced change and global innovation. In classrooms and schools across the country, there is a critical lack of teachers who are prepared to meet this changing world and serve students’ 21st-century learning needs.

Additionally, many communities across the country face teacher shortages, exacerbated by the lack of well-prepared teachers.5 This tends to disproportionately impact marginalized and historically underrepresented students and communities.

Teacher residencies, akin to medical residencies, address these long-standing challenges. Researchers, institutes of higher education, and school leaders alike see promise in this model that provides prospective teachers with both rigorous course work and practical hands-on experience in a classroom.

What Is a Residency and How Is It Different From Other Models of Teacher Preparation?

The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) defines residencies as:

District-serving teacher education programs that pair a rigorous full-year classroom apprenticeship with masters-level education content. Building on the medical residency model, teacher preparation programs provide residents with both the underlying theory of effective teaching and a year-long, in-school “residency” in which they practice and hone their skills and knowledge alongside an effective teacher-mentor in a high-need classroom. New teacher residents receive stipends as they learn to teach, and commit to teaching in their districts for three or more years beyond the residency.

There is nothing that compares to learning a profession in the setting where you’ll carry out that profession. Though, this is still not common for the teaching profession: 70 percent of teacher preparation programs are traditional programs.4


Traditional programs exist at the undergraduate or graduate level, and take place at a college or university. The majority of the preparation focuses on course work in content, pedagogy, and educational theories. Traditional programs infuse some type of student teaching or observations, though the scope of this often varies.4

Residencies tend to shift the focus to the practical experience and align course work to what is happening in the classroom. Residencies also allow a pathway for someone who has decided to change professions or become a teacher after many years out of college or the workforce. For this reason, residencies may feel more accessible to some people than traditional programs.


Alternative teacher preparation programs are often at the post-baccalaureate level and are run by nonprofits, private companies, institutes of higher education, school districts, or some combination of partners. Participants typically have a degree in a specific content area, so course work focuses more on pedagogical theory, classroom management, and practice rather than content knowledge.4 Alternative programs vary in length of time – some put teachers in charge of their own class after a couple of months, while others are one-year or two-year experiences. 

The strongest residencies take the best comprehensive instruction from traditional models and combine it with the best in alternative models: deep partnerships and practical experience in historically underserved schools.

Common Components of a Teacher Residency

Residencies vary in their requirements and components, but one trait is true for all: they require and provide ample classroom time so you understand what it takes to be an effective teacher.

A list of common components of a residency appeared in a recent report:1

  • Residencies have a close-knit partnership between the residency operator and placement local education agency (LEA). The LEA may comprise either district or charter schools. In some cases, the residency operator and the LEA are one and the same.
  • Residency operators control candidate recruitment and selection process and criteria.
  • Teacher candidates in a residency program go through a lengthy (at least one year) clinical experience under the supervision of an effective mentor teacher. Over the course of the residency, teacher candidates gain increasing levels of responsibility in the classroom.
  • Education course work is tightly linked to the teacher candidates’ teaching experiences in the classroom.
  • Teacher candidates receive support from the residency operator and LEA through coaching, mentoring, and induction.
  • Teacher candidates commit, if hired, to working in their placement LEA for a predefined period of time after completing the residency program.

Benefits of Choosing a Teacher Preparation Program

The path to becoming a highly effective teacher – one who can improve student outcomes, make connections with students and families, and provide every student with the education they deserve – starts with quality preparation. A teacher residency affords you a unique, intensive experience to reach this goal. When challenging course work is combined with on-the-ground, guided teaching practice, you enter your classroom ready to make an impact.

Look for the following features to make sure you receive the best of what a residency model has to offer:


Making a commitment to the community where you’ll teach serves your students and families, and better enables you to create inclusive and culturally relevant instruction.


Immediately applying what you learn in a course builds a thorough, application-based understanding of the content.


Residents’ embedded classroom time must be supported by mentors, faculty, and peers.


As you practice and master teaching techniques, you are given new responsibilities in the classroom.


Rigorous course work from an accredited program helps you learn the theories and pedagogical strategies that create the foundation for good teaching.


You become a content area expert, creating culturally relevant and inclusive learning environments for all students, including those with disabilities and multilingual learners.

NYU Teacher Residency

The NYU Teacher Residency combines immersive teacher preparation with a comprehensive one-year master’s program. Graduates enter the teaching profession with an unparalleled understanding of how to serve all learners, become part of the fabric of a school community, and launch a career with the greatest impact possible.

NYU Steinhardt faculty created and lead the Teacher Residency. They merged research-backed evidence of what works in a residency model with the best of university teacher preparation that focuses on research, content, and top-notch faculty support.

According to NCTR, one of the most important indicators of a successful residency program is the degree to which it is in service to urban and rural school districts and its students.2

That’s why the Teacher Residency is built upon the ideas of partnership and community.


You serve in schools with high populations of marginalized and historically underrepresented students. Acting as a catalyst to create more equitable classrooms, the NYU Teacher Residency forms deep partnerships with districts and charter organizations to best provide schools with the talent they need and you with the context and capacity to teach in the local community. We select a diverse teaching cohort to reflect the diversity of local areas.


While becoming content area experts, you also learn to create culturally relevant and inclusive learning environments for all students, including those with disabilities and multilingual learners.


You receive intensive and consistent classroom experience that is mentored throughout the length of the residency. You teach in the same school for the entire year while learning alongside highly effective classroom teacher mentors and gradually increasing your responsibilities. The Teacher Residency works to ensure that mentors are high-quality teachers and skilled coaches: essential factors supported by research on teacher internship placements.3


The Teacher Residency leverages a wraparound support model that provides you with guidance, feedback, knowledge in pedagogy, content expertise, and practical instruction techniques. This is augmented by a technology-enhanced learning model that allows you to connect and meet online with faculty and peers on a weekly basis. You also have access to school-based support through a residency director who is the liaison between your placement school and NYU Steinhardt.


You become an expert in your content area. The Teacher Residency’s eligibility requirements in content course work ensure graduates become the most qualified subject-area teachers for each and every student. You bring the content knowledge, and the Teacher Residency helps you learn how to teach that content to students.


The program is anchored by a full-day (~40 hour/week in the classroom) paid teaching residency or a half-day (~20 hour/week in the classroom) unpaid residency. Both have scholarships available. School partners make a significant investment in your preparation; in return, teacher residents make a commitment to their schools for a period of time after completing the program.

*Dependent upon residency location. 


  1. LiBetti, A., Trinidad, J., “Trading Coursework for Classroom,” Bellwether Education Partners, 2018. TeacherResidencies_Bellwether.pdf 7 
  2. National Center for Teacher Residencies, “Programs & Services, Who Residencies Serve,” 2018. https:// 
  3. Ronfeldt, M., Goldhaber, D., et al, “Identifying Promising Clinical Placements Using Administrative Data: Preliminary Results From ISTI Placement Initiative Pilot,” CALDER, 2018. https://caldercenter. org/sites/default/files/WP%20189.pdf 
  4. US Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, “Issue Brief: Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs,” Higher Education Act Title II Reporting System, 2015. Public/44110_Title_II_Issue_Brief_Altn_TPP.pdf
  5. National Center for Education Statistics, 2018, Preparation and Support for Teachers in Public Schools: Reflections on the First Year of Teaching