published Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Teach/Here wins $3 million grant


by Kelli Gauthier

Making good on a promise made last year, the National Science Foundation gave nearly $3 million to a joint Hamilton-Knox counties' teacher residency program called Teach/Here.

The money will provide $10,000 living stipends to Teach/Here residents while they're in their first year of the program, observing a mentor teacher. They'll get an extra $10,000 each over the next four years.

Program director Cheri Dedmon estimates the money will cover the first two classes for about 10 teachers each for the length of their time in the program.

The first-year grant of $10,000 helps with living expenses, Dedmon said. The extra money in years two through five is because of supply and demand.

"Staffing math and science teachers in general is very hard to do. Hamilton County begins the year with vacancies in math and science because you can't find enough candidates to fill those positions," she said.

Program directors also hope the stipends will encourage retention among the residents, who all must commit to teaching math or science for four years at a high-poverty, hard-to-staff school, Dedmon said.

"A lot of teachers get into high-needs schools and get frustrated because they don't feel prepared or that there isn't support. ... Once you find them, they don't stay long," she said.

But in the Teach/Here residency year, "they're being mentored, so they're staying in the classroom for the whole year," she said. "On the front end, they get a lot of experience from a mentor teacher."

After taking over one or two classes for a week the last two months, the residents now are designing lesson plans for when they take over a full load of classes for eight weeks starting in January.

Wendy Jung, principal of Tyner Middle Academy, one of the schools where residents have been placed this year under the guidance of mentor teachers, said having the extra teachers in her building has allowed for more science and math labs, more hands-on teaching and more intervention.

"These people are getting experience while they're training, so they'll already be experienced in best practices for middle-schoolers," she said. "The only thing I'm sad about is that they'll all be reassigned next year."

about Kelli Gauthier...

Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...

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GARRS said...

I am absolutely completely sick, of teachers who make well above local averages that only work three quarters of the year, complaining and getting MORE money.

More money, to sit in the teachers lounge, drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, to get their head right to tollerate the class.

It is a complete slap in the faces of people that do not earn much over, or even less than 10k per year.

November 27, 2010 at 12:28 a.m.
XMarine said...

RE: Comment by GARR: Maybe the people who make 10k a year should've paid attention to these over paid teachers & stayed in school long enough to graduate.Sound familiar "GARRS" ?

November 27, 2010 at 6:05 a.m.
fairmon said...

Good teachers are not over paid. The high number of high paid administrators and the laws and rules that tie the hands of teachers are a real problem. The inability and reluctance to address the issue of poor teachers gives the entire system a bad reputation. Those not earning a decent wage are usually those that did not utilize the opportunity to get a good education. A major problem is kids without responsible parents or parents that are so uneducated they blame the school and defend their kids disruptive behavior.

November 27, 2010 at 9:02 a.m.
bs_johnson said...

"I am absolutely completely sick, of teachers who make well above local averages that only work three quarters of the year, complaining and getting MORE money.

"More money, to sit in the teachers lounge, drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, to get their head right to tollerate the class."

Much like you wouldn't bring a knife to a gunfight, don't bring some random notion you just thought of to a fact fight.

November 27, 2010 at 9:08 a.m.
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