Why Choose an Urban Teacher Residency Program? | NYU Steinhardt Teacher Residency Program
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A teacher and students in an NYU Teacher Residency partner classroom

You want to teach. You’re confident you’d be a good teacher and that you’d find the work enjoyable and fulfilling. There’s just one problem: you didn’t major in education in college. 

Don’t despair. The teaching profession offers several pathways to the front of a classroom for aspiring teachers who did not pursue the profession as undergraduates. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a career changer, you have several teacher preparation program options.

Those options include teacher residencies, which the National Center for Teacher Residencies calls “the most comprehensive model of teacher preparation in the country.” That’s not just bluster: by combining a master’s degree in teaching with a school year of four-day-a-week full-day classroom training, teaching residencies deliver a uniquely thorough combination of hands-on training and graduate-level academics.

As a resident, you’ll enjoy many benefits, including:

  • Completing your master of arts in teaching (MAT) and classroom training in one year; in many school districts, earning a master’s degree triggers an automatic pay increase
  • A robust support network throughout the program from instructors, mentor teachers, program staff, and your teacher residency peers
  • The opportunity to apply what you learn in your master’s program immediately to real-life classroom situations
  • Strong connections with your students and their communities — this will continue to pay off if your residency includes a continued commitment to your residency school district (as do many residencies) after your residency ends 
  • Placement in an underserved school, where your skills and services are most in need and where you can contribute substantially to students’ success
  • A stipend or salary (in most cases) to defray the cost of your education 
  • A high probability of completing the program, as teacher residency programs have impressive retention rates, especially among teachers of color

A teacher shortage across much of the United States means that now is a great time to consider a teaching career. Teacher residencies typically work with underserved schools, the very institutions in which the teacher shortage is most acute. 

If you have a bachelor’s degree with at least 24 credit hours in your intended area of teaching — you can choose from English, history/social studies, math, and science — you may qualify for admission to the NYU Teacher Residency at the secondary-school level. Applicants with 24 credits across those same disciplines may qualify for the inclusive childhood program, which prepares  teachers at the elementary-school level. The program also offers special education options at the secondary and elementary levels.

Why choose an urban teacher residency program?

Teacher residency programs operate in urban, suburban, and rural settings. All are worthwhile options that produce effective teachers. Which environment is right for you? In this section, we discuss three compelling reasons to choose an urban teacher residency like that offered through the NYU Teacher Residency.

Urban settings offer the greatest number of options for teacher residencies 

The National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR) is the only national organization organized around teacher residency programs. It partners with 33 programs, including the NYU Teacher Residency, in 19 states; the vast majority of its programs are located in urban areas.

NCTR champions the recruitment and retention of all teachers, with a particular focus on developing teachers of color to teach students of color. To that end, the organization launched its Black Educators Initiative in 2019; to date it has recruited and developed 750 new Black teachers, providing scholarships, stipends, memberships to professional development and networking organizations, and other initiatives to enable their participation. The organization also recognizes the shortcomings of America’s educational system, advocating for greater diversity, equality, and inclusion to promote improved outcomes for students, teachers, and school systems. 

If joining the NCTR network is among your objectives, chances are good that you will wind up in an urban placement.

Urban teacher residencies engage more students of color

According to NCTR, teacher residency programs aim to prepare more minority teachers “at a level to address the enduring and systemic inequities in school systems facing children of color and children living in poverty.” How well are they meeting this goal? The organization reports that 62 percent of teacher residents are people of color. Compare that to all new teachers, of whom 22 percent are people of color, to get some idea of how effective teacher residencies are in increasing nonwhite teaching populations.  At NYU, we are proud that our cohorts each year enroll at least 60 percent aspiring teachers of color.

The need for greater diversity in America’s teaching core is a matter of urgency. Studies indicate that greater teacher diversity boosts student performance among all student groups, and is particularly effective in spurring improvements among Black and Latino students. Test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance all increase as the teacher population diversifies.

If your objectives include engaging students of color, you should seriously consider an urban teacher residency placement. Findings from the 2020 Census indicate significant population growth of nonwhites as well as of Americans identifying as more than one race in metropolitan areas. 

Urban settings are rich in cultural experiences and leisure activities

Many teacher residency programs require a continued commitment beyond the one-year residency; it’s not unusual for the commitment term to last three years. That means entering a teacher residency can result in a three- or four-year placement. Where do you want to spend the next several years of your life? If you prefer city living to the suburbs or countryside, an urban teacher residency is the best fit for you.

City living has lots to recommend it. If you’re new to the area, urban settings can make it easier to acclimate and integrate. That’s because they offer so many activities and opportunities to meet new people. No matter your age and background, you’ll meet more people like yourself in a city because, well, there are just more people there. You’ll also meet lots more people who are not like you, exposing you to new perspectives, cultures, and experiences. Cities also have robust public transportation systems — you might be able to get by without a car — and many housing options. 

Find your urban teacher residency placement through the NYU Teacher Residency

The NYU Teacher Residency offers placements in the following cities:

  • Albany, New York
  • Danbury, Connecticut
  • New York, New York (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens)
  • West Palm Beach, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Syracuse, New York
  • Washington, DC

Course work commences at the end of June preceding your residency year and ends the following summer. The program offers options leading to elementary-level teaching as well as single-subject middle and high school assignments.

How to apply

The NYU Teacher Residency program accepts online applications. Your first step in applying is to complete the online application form and send an unofficial copy of your undergraduate transcript. The school will use this to determine your eligibility for the program. You’ll also send an application fee.

Next, you’ll upload these documents.

An official transcript request form

This form allows NYU to request an official transcript from your undergraduate institution. 

A résumé

Your résumé provides a snapshot of your education and career. Tailor your résumé to highlight those skills and experiences that best speak to your qualifications as a prospective teacher. Whenever possible, quantify your achievements. Don’t use a fancy or fussy design: keep it clean and simple. Ask a friend to proofread your résumé before sending it.

Essays

Admissions essays provide an opportunity for you to sell yourself and to highlight your accomplishments. Your essay should express your enthusiasm for the program and its objectives. It should also discuss what inspires you to teach. It’s a good idea to have someone whose judgment you respect to review and critique your essay before you submit it.

A video introduction

NYU requires a 90-second video introduction, which you can record on your smartphone or computer webcam. In your video, discuss an education issue that is important to you. The school will use this video to judge your presentation style. Make sure you appear comfortable and confident and that your presentation is fluid. It’s OK to record this as many times as necessary. Don’t submit it until you’re satisfied you’ve done your best.

If your first language is not English, you may be required to take an English proficiency exam.

Admissions process

All applications are reviewed by the admissions committee. Those that meet initial review criteria receive an invitation to a group interview with a faculty member. When you receive that invitation, you will also receive a 2,000-word article about culturally responsive teaching. Read it carefully and prepare to discuss it during the interview.

In the next stage, candidates undergo individual review by program faculty. Those seeking full-day residencies must then apply for resident teaching positions with their intended public school and charter school partner, which entails another round of interviews. The process ends when you receive an offer letter from your residency school.

NYU notifies applicants of admissions decisions via email in early June. Details about financial aid, tuition, and fees arrive separately. You may not defer your admission. You must submit a $200 nonrefundable deposit, applicable to your tuition, to finalize the admissions process.

The NYU Teacher Residency Program and urban residencies

The NYU Teacher Residency program provides the optimal opportunity to secure an urban teaching placement while attending graduate school. The program facilitates placements in New York City, NY (The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens); Albany, NY; Syracuse, NY; San Francisco, CA; Danbury, CT; Palm Beach County, FL; and Washington, D.C. Yet another reason to opt for an urban residency: doing so enables you to enroll in this excellent program.

These partner schools share NYU’s goal to transform teacher preparation and deliver optimal learning to underserved students, including emergent bilinguals and students with disabilities. Enrollment in the NYU Teacher Residency program ensures a placement aligned with these ideals and objectives. It also ensures world-class instruction from the NYU Steinhardt faculty alongside rigorous classroom-leading experiences that promote your teaching skills. When you enroll in the NYU Teacher Residency program, you join an exceptionally diverse student body. The NYU teacher residency every school year has had a minimum of 60 percent new teachers of color.