https://memphistr.org

Memphis Teacher Residency

Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

If you want to be a teacher and are interested in getting a Masters in Urban Education, this is worth applying for. MTR's community is unparalleled, I moved to Memphis and immediately gained a network of peers who were as dedicated to becoming excellent teachers as me, everyone who works at MTR is great and interested in making sure students in Memphis are receiving the best education. I loved the graduate classes. They were engaging and purposeful. Everything we learned we were able to apply in the classroom that same week! You will feel supported and empowered to teach with excellence if you become a part of MTR. Another aspect of MTR that I have huge respect for is the organizations commitment to feedback, improvement, and efficiency. Like any organization it is not perfect, but what sets it apart is MTRs commitment to constantly learning and growing. Your voice will be valued and heard. Lastly, MTR is an incredible opportunity to gain a free masters degree with living expenses paid for. Because of that generosity, residents are able to focus on being and becoming excellent teachers for the students of Memphis.

What I wish was different

A one year masters degree with a full time internship is no joke. It is an intense year with lots of learning and experiences packed in. I wish it could be spread out over a longer period.

Advice

This is not for the feint of heart, but it is the most rewarding experience. I am a better teacher, student, friend, colleague, and person because of MTR and the people I work with.
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Resident Teacher

June 2019 - May 2020 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

MTR is a top-notch teacher prep program. Just check out the results: https://memphistr.org/results/. With high teacher burnout as a reality in urban education, MTR equips its teachers to have excellent methods and supports inside and outside the classroom, which will help them face the inevitable difficulties of teaching. Most importantly, though, MTR seeks to restore dignity to communities by expressing Christian love through equal education. As MTR sends out more teachers each year into Memphis schools, more students are receiving excellent, dignifying education. Now is the time. Memphis is the place.

What I wish was different

This program is tough. It's tempting to wish that the workload of the residency year was easier, but teaching is hard. Period. MTR makes sure they give us purposeful, meaningful work that prepares us for leading a classroom on our own.

Advice

Be an owner, not a critic. If your heart isn't in the right place coming into this program, you will either drop out or find yourself in a constant state of complaining about how hard your life is. The neighborhoods we are serving have a lot of systemic problems that cannot be fixed with one good teacher, but they can be changed with one good God. If you choose to be the hands and feet of Jesus, you will own this experience, and find that your sufferings are incomparable to those around you. Own this experience, and you will thrive.
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Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

All students deserve a quality education. This organization seeks to make that a reality in Memphis, a city where many kids are not getting the educational opportunities that they deserve. MTR is based in the idea that all students have inherent dignity, and so deserve the time, resources, and effort it takes to give dignify them through education. They train and support people to be effective teachers in the classroom through Masters classes, feedback on your teaching from the classroom, a mentor to train you, a coach to support you, and a cohort of other teachers for a community. The support offered through this program is unparalleled. It's not only the ideals or theories of what teaching should look like, but they get down into the practicals of what the responsive, student-centered classroom can look like and feel like. I can't imagine going into the classroom without having had this year of training and the ongoing support I will receive for the next 3 years! A vision-led organization. Single-minded (dignifying students through equitable education). Also, the community I gained from this organization is so large and so intimate.

What I wish was different

As practical as it was to be participating in Master's classes while in the classroom (I could apply everything I was learning as I learned it), it was SO HARD. Balancing teaching, school, and being a human felt like an impossibility many days.

Advice

If you want to teach in Memphis, do MTR. You will not regret it.
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Resident Teacher

June 2019 - May 2020 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

I love the MTR community. You immediately feel welcomed into this family that is fighting for equal justice with a Christian based love mindset. I have felt supported and pushed to become an effective teacher in Memphis TN.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have spent more time during the summer getting to know the city of Memphis. This place has so many places to explore and the summer is the best time to explore them. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by I wish I would have told myself to grab a friend and go explore something new.

Advice

This work is hard but so worth it. The information I learned this past year has changed my understanding and passion for education that I didn't even know existed. Learn as much as you can during residency year because MTR has fantastic professors who want you to succeed and pushing you to be the best teacher you can be. Give yourself grace and keep pushing forward.
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Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

The community at MTR is unlike any I have ever experienced with other organizations. I got married the same weekend I started MTR, and my husband and I felt welcomed into the MTR family immediately. I have some of my closest friends due to MTR. I also feel more prepared to teach not only in Memphis classrooms, but any classroom that I may teach in in the future.

What I wish was different

Although the residency model is designed to give you experience in the same classroom for an entire year, I think this hinders other opportunities to be trained in the range of grade levels and contexts of teaching that we may end up being hired in. I think it would be valuable for both elementary and secondary residents to have the chance to spend half a year in the lower and upper grade band that they will be certified for.

Advice

This has by far been the most challenging year of my life thus far. That being said, it is not impossible. Don't sacrifice self-care for the sake of being a workaholic. It will seriously save you during this crazy year.
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Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

I loved the community aspect of MTR. They help cultivate and keep a close-knit community that is unlike any other. I also appreciate their 100% placement rate for jobs for the following year! Made me feel very confident that I would receive a job after my year of residency!

What I wish was different

You are paired with a mentor teacher for the year you are obtaining your master's degree, and some of these mentors had gone through the program and know what to expect, and some have not. I wish all mentor teachers were required to have gone through the program, this would make it easier on both the resident and the mentor.

Advice

This year is hard! But it is not impossible! There are many things that keep you motivated and going, and honestly, I cannot believe my year is already coming to a close!
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Resident Teacher

June 2019 - May 2020 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

When I finished student teaching during my undergraduate degree, I faced the reality that if I wanted to be the best teacher I could be, I needed to pursue other learning opportunities before entering the classroom on my own for the first time. I found MTR. The thing I love the most about MTR, is being able to learn from an experienced teacher for a whole year while being more than a student-teacher, pushed out of your comfort zone, given weekly feedback, and grad school work to further my practice and skills. I love the community that I have gained from MTR. I truly feel confident to step into my first year next year knowing I am equipped with the skills to do it on my own. While also knowing I will have support even when I struggle for my next three years as a teacher. It is truly something that is unheard of in the field of education.

What I wish was different

I wish I could have gotten more observations in other classrooms once I found out the position I was teaching next year. Honestly, that is primarily due to COVID than MTR.

Advice

The residency year is a lot of hard work, time, and energy. As long as you are willing to put in the work, it will be worth your time.
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Resident

June 2019 - May 2020 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

The mission and vision of the program brought me to MTR. I'm thankful to have been apart of an organization that is like family and that truly reflects what it stands for - Christian Love Expressed in Equal Education. I loved how organized the program was, and I am thankful to have been able to receive a Master's degree in just one year. MTR seeks to receive feedback often and is constantly implementing changes consistent with the feedback given. The amount of support I was offered during my Residency year through coaching, seminars, and grad classes was instrumental in my development as a teacher with no background in education. I am looking forward to growing as an educator with the continuous support of the program in my graduate years.

What I wish was different

Advice

Receiving a master's degree in one year alongside intern teaching and life in general will be challenging, so be sure teaching is for you before you commit to the program!
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Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

I like that we are provided with a lot of support through our residency year and then in our first three years as a teacher. MTR works hard to build a community that is centered on a common mission and love for Christ and others, which made the transition to Memphis much easier. Having a living stipend and housing provided was amazing. I have become a better teacher because of the experiences that I have had and the classes that I have taken.

What I wish was different

I wish that I would have been able to observe more in different schools in the Memphis community so that I could get a better feel for the different schools throughout Memphis. COVID- 19 had a large impact on our experience, and I wish that would not have changed our year so much.

Advice

Make sure that becoming a teacher is what you want to do because even if you have a passion for teaching the intensity of the program can begin to make you question your commitment.
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Teaching Resident

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

Love the community and skill set offered to teachers

What I wish was different

Having more connections with people there before going

Advice

Step outside of your comfort zone and do it!
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Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

Memphis Teacher Residency is a great organization for those seeking to fight for a crucial civil rights issue, urban education. I've really enjoyed how honest and supportive this organizations continues to be. They are consistent with high expectations, but never expect you to do anything alone. MTR is a community and it truly shows in everything they do.

What I wish was different

Advice

Residency year is very full and time consuming, but so worth it! You'll learn lots of ample new information from masters classes and through your internship that will be vital for your first year teaching. Soak it all up!
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Resident Teacher

May 2019 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

The residency year with MTR is extremely supportive--you won't find a better teacher prep program, and you definitely won't find a better one with the same price tag. Your residency year is split between a graduate classroom and a classroom in a high-needs school. That is, you get plenty of opportunities to apply what you're learning immediately, which was a big shift for me from undergrad.

What I wish was different

I wish I had spent more time over the summer term of the residency getting authentically plugged into Memphis. It can be hard to enter the school year without building up a good network of organizations to be involved in beforehand.

Advice

MTR is HARD--live up the first summer, as that will be the easiest part of your first year. From August until May, there are constant things to do. They are all things to make you a better teacher, but it is a true challenge.
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Summer Reading Teacher

June - July 2018 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

I enjoyed being in a place I'd never been before. I had a great time, and I hadn't spent much time in the South before. I also had some fantastic co-interns who made the entire experience a bunch of fun.

What I wish was different

I think that the organization I worked for could have done a better job with communicating what was expected of us. I also think that there were tons of differences among me and my fellow interns that we should have discussed further to make the environment more understanding and appreciative.

Advice

I would advise anyone interested in working as an educator to be sure they are truly interested in teaching, because it's hard.
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MTR camp Intern

June - July 2018 • Memphis, TN

What I liked

I loved the Christian outlook that MTR possessed as they promoted interns and teachers that saw the kids they were teaching as image bearers of God. This program goes beyond urban teaching experiences like Teach for America. Memphis Teacher Residency provides a supportive community and a long term preparation for teachers to seek equal education form minority communities. This internship exposed and educated me more about Urban and unequal education while also learning about the MTR graduate program. I loved that the statistics and the stories we here about urban education became real and tangible relationships as the interns grew close with the young kids in the community.

What I wish was different

I wish that I was able to do the program longer. Additionally, I wish that I had really read and understand the expectations for the internship. I loved the internship but needed a couple of weeks to adjust to the requirements and expectations of the internship.

Advice

If you want to get a hands on experience on urban education or just urban studies I would highly recommend this program. I learned more about teaching during my time in Memphis than I had ever learned in the classroom here at Wheaton. I also got hands on experience in learning more about our countries history with segregation and education for minorities.
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