- Indianapolis Public Schools is working to change the student teaching experience so students are working with teacher leaders, have sufficient district support and emerge better prepared to lead a classroom, Chalkbeat reports.
- In the district, educators apply to supervise student teachers, and they go through a new teacher training program. They're paid $1,000 a semester to be clinical prep teacher leaders, and the program's director is paid $7,000 to oversee the efforts.
- The program benefits student teachers by providing them with more rigorous, intentional training. It also benefits teachers by giving them a chance to be leaders with higher pay, and it benefits the school district by improving the partnership with local colleges and increasing the chances of student teachers remaining in the district after graduation.
Three recent studies indicate a connection between the quality of those who mentor student teachers and the quality of educators that those students become. Improving the student teaching experience by recruiting high-quality teachers and paying them for their expertise and effort seems like it will pay off in the long run. Student teachers who are well-prepared and have effective mentors are more likely to remain in the teaching profession and to become teacher leaders themselves.
Giving teachers the opportunity to develop and use their leadership skills while earning more money is also emerging as an effective concept. The Opportunity Culture approach places more experienced and effective teachers in a role that mentors less effective teachers and pays them more money for the effort. In the past, high-quality teachers were often promoted to leadership roles in central offices, effectively removing them from daily contact with students. However, Opportunity Culture allows them to stay in the classroom, where they can have the greatest impact while still mentoring teachers.
The strategy of partnering with colleges to provide well-rounded opportunities for student teachers is also a good recruitment technique. As the pool of new teachers shrinks, school districts are trying to new strategies to attract the remaining candidates. By creating more effective student teaching opportunities, school districts demonstrate a high level of support for beginning teachers and are more likely to retain them. If not, they at least are able to help prepare better quality teachers for other school districts to hire.