2009 National Teacher of the Year and Greenwich educator Tony Mullen thinks that all new educators should have the benefit of spending a year with a master-teacher. In a recent blog post for Education Week, he says that if educators had the advantage of a residency experience like doctors do, the retention rate for teachers would be much higher and children would benefit.
Novice teachers are awarded degrees after spending four to six years sitting in college classrooms developing pedagogical skills, content knowledge, and classroom-management techniques, among other teaching prerequisites, and then are sent directly to the lion’s den. Neophyte teachers usually complete some type of truncated classroom observations or practicum, but the brevity of such courses does not compete with the luxury of working a meaningful or sustained residency or internship for at least a year with experienced master-teachers. Is it any wonder that almost 50 percent of novice teachers quit teaching within five years? And the vast majority of these teachers complain that they left teaching because of a lack of support.
Education Week has invited Mullen to be the teacher voice for OpEducation, a roundtable opinion blog featuring the views of a wide variety of education thought leaders. He welcomes comments from fellow educators, saying, “I’m trying to get more teachers involved in a dialogue that affects us all.”