Teacher residencies are becoming increasingly popular. And it’s no surprise when you consider the research that demonstrates how successful this practice-based approach can be in honing one’s craft of teaching.

Additionally, this new model directly addresses critical teacher shortages and retention challenges in districts across the country – especially in hard-to-staff schools – by creating a new pipeline of teachers who are supported early in their career.

Residencies pair a rigorous full-year classroom “apprenticeship” with master’s-level educational theory and teaching skills and practices. Like doctors training in hospitals, educator residents develop alongside experienced mentors. This is particularly effective in high-need districts where teachers face unique challenges and immense opportunity to impact outcomes for students.

Why You Should Choose a Residency Program:

  1. Hands-on experience. There’s nothing quite like a classroom – the buzzing energy of your students, the lesson planning, the moment when you see a light bulb go off as a child grasps a piece of content. This is impossible to understand if you’re in a lecture hall learning only educational theory. A residency puts you in a classroom for a significant amount of time – typically full time – for a year. Research shows that immersion is the best way to learn to teach. Practicing your skills daily will give you a solid foundation for success and real impact in the classroom.
  2. Mentoring and support from the get-go. One of the biggest challenges for early-career teachers is that there’s often no formal support system. You might need help with building your curriculum, or maybe it’s classroom management that perplexes you. A residency will put you alongside a skilled teacher – your mentor – where you’ll be co-teaching and learning by example, gradually gaining more responsibility as you learn. It’s about honing skills and building confidence: key ingredients for successful classroom leadership.
  3. Theory combined with practice. When your academic coursework aligns with your daily experience, you’re able to immediately apply what you’ve learned for a deeper understanding. Instead of first learning theory and then applying it months later in a classroom setting, a residency takes a concurrent approach. You have the opportunity to build your pedagogical skills and relate your coursework to real experiences. When  something comes up, you can work with your mentor and residency program faculty to address the learning opportunity in real-time.
  4. Impact from day one. In residency programs that partner with high-need schools, you immediately become part of a solution to a massive challenge. We know that teacher shortages disproportionately hurt students in hard-to-staff schools. Getting the training, feeling prepared, and forming relationships with students helps you be part of the solution and ready to make an impact.

There are amazing benefits to becoming an educator using a residency model. What’s more, joining a residency program that focuses on the schools that need the most support allows you to be part of the solution to give all children a great education. If you’re looking for an exceptional master’s degree option to help you become a teacher, check out NYU Steinhardt’s Teacher Residency program.

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