Teacher-in-Residence

The linchpin of most successful teacher preparation programs around the country is the Teacher-in-Residence of recruiting, educating, and supporting teachers of physics. The TIR is involved in nearly every aspect of the teacher preparation program, and funding this critical position is one of the crucial challenges institutions face in building a successful program.

What a Teacher-in-Residence Can Do for your Program

Recruit future teachers. No one knows the rewards and challenges of teaching better than an experienced teacher. TIRs can recognize promising future teachers, give them an enthusiastic sales pitch, and knowledgeably answer questions. It is crucial to make sure the TIR is visible within the department, and has opportunities to meet potential teachers.

Teach methods and content courses for future teachers. A TIR brings recent classroom experience into courses for future teachers. In addition, teaching enables the TIR to get to know the students, and vice versa. A TIR who teaches courses is also far more likely to attract permanent institutional funding (see also Institutional Commitment).

Supervise field experiences and mentor student teachers. TIRs are well connected in the local school system, and can place student teachers in supportive classrooms where they will be able to teach as they have been taught.

» What else can a Teacher-in-Residence do for your program

Mentor recent program graduates. TIRs usually make the best mentors, as they have the advantage of being familiar with a new teacher's university environment, and in many cases of having already formed a relationship with the teacher.

Manage Learning Assistant Programs. TIRs are ideal for recruiting Learning Assistants, teaching the methods course these students take, and mentoring them as they progress through a teacher preparation program.

Help physics departments build bridges with education schools and local school districts. TIRs are professionals in both physics and education, and are thus in a perfect position to bridge these two often separate worlds. In addition, TIRs come in with strong connections to local school districts, and can facilitate relationships between physics faculty and local school teachers and administrators.

Develop a professional learning community. As someone with visibility within the department who also has connections to local schools, the TIR is the perfect individual to develop a professional learning community that supports beginning teachers and reduces their isolation. See also Induction and Mentoring.

Design new courses for future teachers. Master teachers' first-hand knowledge of the classroom and of inquiry-based teaching can inform pedagogy courses such as the course Learning Assistants take.

Apply for grants. TIRs may have ideas for and knowledge about education-related funding opportunities.

Your Teacher-in-Residence can mentor his or her replacement. This is an important way to give back to a school or district that has agreed to release an experienced teacher, who is usually replaced by someone with less experienced (perhaps a recent graduate from your program).

Strategies for Recruiting a Teacher-in-Residence

Finding a Master Teacher with the expertise you need at a particular time and then convincing him or her to leave the classroom for a year or more can be a challenging and time-intensive process. Universities have found excellent TIRs in many different places.

Organize a professional learning community or teacher advisory group. Developing a community of teachers around your institution will give you the connections you need to find good candidates.

Look for a TIR among people already involved with your institution. Look to successful completers of your program or participants in workshops or summer institutes you have offered. Other candidates are those who work as adjuncts or in grant-funded positions at your university.

Have your TIR mentor his or her replacement. School districts and principals are often, and understandably, reluctant to release a Master Teacher for a year. Your TIR can mitigate this to some extent by working with his or her replacement to make that teacher as effective as possible.

» View more strategies for recruiting a Teacher-in-Residence