The Teach Western Mass Residency is a one-year accelerated state accredited teaching preparation program that gives aspiring teachers the chance to lead a classroom while getting significant support and earning certification. Our customized credentialing program trains new teachers to be effective in the classroom while building strong relationships in their school communities and developing standards-based and culturally relevant curriculum for students in the region’s highest-need schools and subject areas.
Together we’re building a pipeline of dedicated and diverse educators that reflect the makeup of our vibrant region. Teach Western Mass Residents will spend a year developing foundational teaching techniques in an actual classroom with personalized training and expert coaches to guide them along the way.
Who We Want
As educators, we share a belief that all families—regardless of where they live or how much money they earn—have the right to a great education and a bright future for their children. For us, it all starts with teachers who are empowered and supported along the way.
We are looking for accomplished individuals who possess the skills and deep content knowledge to teach critical subjects where great teachers are often in short supply. Given our specific needs, we are particularly interested in candidates with the dedication and knowledge required to educate students in Special Education settings.
You may have built a successful career in a different field, and now wish to give back as a teacher. Or you could be a recent graduate who wants to ensure students with disabilities are equipped with the tools they need to be successful. Whatever your background, you believe that every student can excel and you will do whatever it takes to help them get there.
To be considered for our program, you must:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree
- Meet all legal requirements to work in the United States;
- Receive passing scores on all of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure required by your subject area; and
- Pass a criminal background check
Salary and Program Costs
As a full-time employee of a Teach Western Mass school, you will earn the same starting salary as other first-year teachers. First-year teachers earn more than $45,000 and can make well over $70,000 by their sixth year. You will also have access to the same comprehensive benefits as all new teachers in Teach Western Mass Partner Schools, including medical, dental, vision and life insurance coverage.
Program tuition for the 2019-20 school year will be $7,000, which may be paid out through the course of the year, once you have secured a full-time teaching position with a Teach Western Mass Partner School.
We will begin recruiting teachers for the following subjects for the 2019-20 school year:
- English as a Second Language
- English as a Second Language and Elementary (dual certification)
- Special Education (Moderate Disabilities)
- Special Education (Moderate Disabilities) and Elementary (dual certification)
- Middle School Mathematics*
To be eligible for a preliminary license in one of the subject areas above and able to teach in Teach Western Mass schools for school year 2019-2020, you must receive passing scores on all the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) required for that subject area by June 2019. Learn more about licensure requirements here.
Note: Eligibility and academic requirements are established by the Massachusetts Department of Education and are therefore non-negotiable and subject to change.
Training & Certification
You will have the opportunity to impact communities where systemic inequities and individual prejudices have denied too many children access to a great education. However, we recognize the first year is hard, and to prepare you for that challenge, you will receive intensive pre-practicum training and coaching through the Teach Western Mass Residency.
While traditional teacher preparation programs stress educational theory, our training is designed to transform talented professionals into great teachers through practical, classroom-centered coursework, with a sharp focus on the core skills and mindsets teachers need to be successful. You will be trained like a pro athlete, with ample opportunity to practice, reflect and improve, until essential teaching techniques become second nature. At every step, you will be held to the highest performance standards because your students are counting on teachers capable of delivering game-changing results.
In early June, you’ll begin your commitment with a rigorous, eight-week pre-practicum training program that is centered on field experience and summer school teaching. You will study proven teaching techniques and begin to develop the in-depth content knowledge that great teachers use every day to advance student learning and can expect to practice these techniques intensively, both with peers and with real students in summer school classrooms. Rather than overwhelming you with training that is a mile wide but an inch deep, we focus first on mastery of four foundational teaching skills before shifting to more advanced practices.
Outstanding local teachers will prepare you to manage a classroom, to deliver the content your students must learn, and to support students in meeting high expectations by building bridges between challenging academic content and students’ unique values and experiences. You must demonstrate emerging proficiency in these fundamental skills by the end of pre-practicum training to earn teaching eligibility for the fall.
Pre-practicum training is extremely demanding, and you must attend sessions five days per week from approximately 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, with the potential for additional workshops and events. Due to the critical importance of pre-practicum training, you cannot miss any portion. Attendance is mandatory every day.
During pre-practicum training, our coaches will be your most critical development resource as you apply lessons from training sessions with students in your classroom. All pre-service training coaches are experienced teachers with a track record of raising achievement in challenging classrooms.
Pre-practicum training coaches will visit you regularly in your classroom, providing real-time guidance to improve your teaching. After class, you will meet to debrief and practice concrete strategies you can apply in future lessons. Coaches will also pull you into small skill-building sessions to address your high-priority development needs.
You can’t improve if you don’t know how you are doing. Whether you are struggling with delivering content or striving to improve your classroom management skills, your coach will focus their expertise on helping you quickly get up to speed in that area. This rich feedback and personalized professional development will help you grow quickly into an amazing teacher.
School Year Coursework and Support
During your first year as a full-time teacher, you will complete School Year Coursework and Support under the guidance of outstanding former teachers. Depending on your needs, sessions will be in person, virtually or a combination of both. School Year Coursework and Support Instructors will focus their expertise to ensure that you master the most critical knowledge required for your subject, along with the skills and mindsets needed to support students to master that material effectively. You will open your classroom regularly, either through classroom visits or through video you record, allowing staff to see you in action, and provide actionable guidance and concrete strategies to apply in future lessons.
Throughout the year, you will also participate in skill-building sessions to deepen your proficiency in proven teaching techniques used by top educators nationwide, as well as equity sessions to reflect on your beliefs and experiences and how these influence your approach to the students in your classroom. Through intensive practice and feedback, you’ll achieve fluency in the fundamentals of good teaching while developing the advanced skills you need to grow from good to great. At every step, this training will be customized to reflect your individual strengths and weaknesses through virtual and in-person courses.
A Note on Teaching Special Education: Residents teaching Special Education will be dually certified in Elementary, Math or English. As a result, they must complete additional certification coursework, one for each content area. Residents teaching Special Education also incur additional tuition costs to cover this additional coursework, with tuition payments spread out across two years.
School Year Coursework and Support holds the highest standards for certification of any program in the country, and our teachers are widely recognized for their ability to help high-need students make dramatic learning gains.
As a first-year Resident, you will be evaluated on the Massachusetts State Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) rubric to ensure that you remain on track to become a great teacher. The evaluation system incorporates a wide variety of evidence from your classroom to create the fullest possible picture of your performance. School Year Coursework and Support is designed to address your high-priority development needs.
By setting a high bar and helping you meet it, we ensure that you can get real results for students. And as a School Year Coursework and Support graduate, principals and district officials will know that you are not simply a certified teacher, but one with a proven track record in the classroom.
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