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WHY BLOG?  WHY NOW? WHY BELIEVE AND PREPARE?

Louisiana has piloted yearlong residencies for aspiring teachers since 2014 through Believe and Prepare, impacting over 1,200 resident and mentor teachers and over 26,000 students statewide. Backed by the Louisiana Board of Regents, the polices passed in October ensure that all teacher candidates in the 2018-2019 year and beyond will have the same experience as those who participated in the Believe and Prepare program.

Through this innovative blog, Louisiana educators share their knowledge and experience preparing the next generation of teachers through a yearlong residency.  Hear from teachers, mentors, school and preparation leaders, aspiring teachers, and researchers how residencies are honoring, respecting, and professionalizing teaching and educational leadership.

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This blog will appeal to passionate educators committed to elevating the teaching profession and serves as a platform to share the latest practices, tools, and resources to support school system and preparation provider partnerships and create quality residency experiences for aspiring teachers.

Join us the first and third Tuesday each month to hear from educators across the state committed to preparing teachers who are classroom ready on day one. If you are interested in submitting a blog on this site please contact BelieveandPrepare@la.gov.
 

Paving the Way for a New Generation

by Feb 20, 2017

Believe and Prepare Blog Headshot - Shannon
  
Believe and Prepare…these powerful words are changing the face of teacher preparation in our state. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity of being a mentor teacher to a yearlong teacher resident. When I was introduced to the program through Louisiana Tech University, I immediately had an “I drank the Kool-Aid” moment! I know that our schools need quality teachers that are prepared to take our students, our schools, and our state to the next level. Putting qualified, highly trained, and experienced new teachers in the classrooms is key to this success.

I have learned first-hand how these residents come in and take ownership in the classroom. They dive into the curriculum, and, from day one, the students become “their” students.

My resident, Adriane Meggs is my co-teacher. She is my partner, and she is my “baby bird,” as I affectionately refer to her. The students view her as a second teacher, which is clear from their respect of her and their confidence in asking her for help. If you visit our classroom, it is hard to tell which one of us has multiple years of experience and which is an aspiring teacher completing the second half of their residency year.

In a classroom of twenty-two to twenty- six children, we all know it is difficult to meet the needs of all the children every day. One day in the second week of school, I was giving a test. At some point, I looked around and Ms. Meggs and one of our students were gone. She never said a word; she just took him and left the room. After some time, she came back in and her eyes were wide. When I asked what was going on, Ms. Meggs says, “He knows all the answers, he just can’t read!”

This particular student had been using amazing survival skills and auditory learning to get by, yet at test time could not read the questions to complete the test. Ms. Meggs picked up on this, took the student into the hallway, read the test aloud to him, and the student made an 88/B!Ms. Meggs then wanted to know what the procedure was for getting this student special services. She was an important part in doing the needed response to intervention (RTI) for him and getting him to the school building level committee (SBLC).  This type of first-hand experience is why I believe classrooms really are where teachers learn best how to meet the needs of all students. Meggs was able to experience the process and put into practice the RTI strategies she is learning to ensure this student’s needs were met.  She owned the process, as we worked together to ensure his needs are met.

This year Ms. Meggs has taught lessons and graded papers, she has seen and handled melt downs, dealt with behavior issues, gone on field trips, cared for sick children, assisted with proficiency tests, mediated playground girl drama, listened to a million stories, and celebrated victories both small and large. In May, she will have completed her first year of teaching with such valuable information that can only be gained by having enough time in a classroom to put into practice all the knowledge and skills she has learned. My “baby bird” will fly away from me in May, but she will always have a friend and mentor in me.  I will continue to guide her, keep in touch with her, and watch her become an expert teacher in a Louisiana classroom.  On a personal note, serving as a mentor has made me more aware of the moves I make daily to ensure my students are learning. Having a co-teacher has introduced me to new ideas and grown my own practice.

We need expert teachers as we enter the next phase and move to a place of greater success for our students, our schools, and our state. I am so thankful to be part of this exciting program, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our children.

Shannon P. Embanato
3rd Grade – English Language Arts
Sallie Humble Elementary
Monroe City Schools