When you reflect on your first year as an educator, what is one thing you wish you’d been ready for on day one in your classroom?
As you know all too well, new educators are expected to meet the needs of increasingly diverse classrooms, but inadequate preparation and poorly designed field experiences fail to equip educators with the skills or know-how to manage this diversity. It is no wonder that so many of us struggle.
That’s why a team of E4E-New York members set out to generate meaningful recommendations for how to ensure educators receive the best possible preparation and professional development to serve their students from the first moment they set foot in the classroom.
The team engaged over 1,000 NYC educators through focus groups and more than 700 through surveys, examined case studies and research from across the country, and consulted with over a dozen experts and stakeholders. Their research and hard work culminated in Ready for Day One and Beyond, a set of specific solutions that will have a significant and immediate impact in ensuring every teacher is prepared for the classroom on day one and beyond.
On February 28, we hosted an event to share these recommendations and launch the campaign to turn these teacher-driven ideas into reality. During the event, team members led discussions with dozens of New York City educators on the topics of increasing teacher diversity, the many benefits of teacher residency programs, and improving educator access to quality professional development.
E4E-NY Executive Director Paula White opened the evening, discussing her own past as a classroom teacher and how imperative quality teacher preparation is to serving students’ needs.
Two teachers who helped draft the recommendations, Danielle Felicissimo and Leona Fowler, then explained the team’s process in developing the recommendations - a result of bimonthly meetings beginning in September - and provided an outline for the rest of the event. Educators in attendance divided themselves into three groups at separate tables, while members of the team facilitated conversations around a specific recommendation at each table.
Our paper includes recommendations on:
Increasing teacher diversity
Expanding teacher residency programs across the city
Making effective professional development sessions more accessible to educators and more aligned to their needs
Paula ended the evening with a call to action reminding all educators in the room of the critical importance of voting in the upcoming UFT election to ensure the union reflects teachers’ voice and will advocate for the issues teachers care about, especially those discussed at the event. Educators pledged their vote on commitment cards after an evening of inspiring action, and you can too!