Sunday, August 25, 2019

UTSA Teacher Residency Program produces first graduates

UTSA Teacher Residency Program produces first graduates

A UTSA teacher resident works with a group of San Antonio elementary students.

(May 3, 2019) -- Fifteen students from the UTSA College of Education and Human Development’s Teacher Residency Model 2.0 will graduate from the university this month as part of the program’s first cohort of yearlong residency teacher candidates.

“I feel very excited, proud, and hopeful that these future teachers will make a positive and lasting impact on their communities,” said Lisa Santillan, assistant professor in practice for the residency program. “All three clinical teachers I work with have the passion, drive/ganas, and positive attitude to take on the role of being a culturally efficacious teacher. They have been implementing all they have learned, not just from the residency program, but from all their years at UTSA to better meet the needs of a culturally and linguistically diverse student population.”

As part of the program, the students are required to complete a full year of clinical teaching at schools in the San Antonio or Northside Independent School Districts.

Alejandra Garcia, Jackelyne Gomez, and Nicole Nuñez completed their teacher residency at Dorie Miller Elementary School in San Antonio ISD. Each of them worked closely with their assistant professor in practice, cooperating teacher, and the school’s leadership team to prepare themselves for their future careers as teachers.

“I have learned so much by participating in the program,” said Garcia. “I got to work with a master teacher that had more than 20 years of experience, who guided and coached me throughout the entire year. She provided me a lot of feedback on how I can improve as a teacher.”

“I have gained an infinite amount of knowledge all thanks to this residency program,” added Nuñez. “I have learned the true work and drive you must have as a teacher and the hard work the teacher profession really is.”

Through the program, the teacher candidates were able to gain hands-on experience working in high-needs areas, such as math, science, English as a Second Language, and bilingual education.

“This program has placed me in a high area of need where I can truly embrace the many challenges that come with being an educator,” said Gomez. “This program has allowed me to put into practice all that I know and has opened new doors to many things I am yet to learn. It has allowed me to make some of my first-year mistakes supervised so when I am on my own I can do even better for myself and my students.”

Other schools where teacher candidates completed their residency include San Antonio ISD’s CAST Tech High School and Monroe May Elementary School in Northside ISD.

“The COEHD Teacher Residency Model 2.0 is the innovative plan for the future of teacher preparation,” said Lucinda Juarez, assistant professor in practice for the residency program. “By taking all of the great knowledge and research acquired from the traditional model and converting it to a yearlong model, and by strengthening the collaboration of teaching and learning through university and district partnerships, an outstanding, innovative program for the future of education has been created.”

The UTSA COEHD Teacher Residency Model 2.0 began in the fall of 2017, and hopes to continue to expand to other schools and districts in the San Antonio area.

“I see the residency program expanded to more districts to support the development of more culturally efficacious educators and to better respond to the needs of our K-12 students and community,” said Jennifer Swoyer, assistant professor in practice for the residency program.

On May 19, the students will walk the stage to receive their degrees that prepared them for a classroom of their own.

“Through the program, I have been able to improve my skills in multiple areas such as classroom management, curriculum and planning, and professional development,” said Garcia. “I am now much more confident in the decisions that I make as a teacher. I know that once I enter the field on my own I will be much more prepared to take on any challenge that I might face.”

- Jo Ann Jones


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