On a quiet Wednesday in mid November, Principal Ben Mackey and The School for the Talented and Gifted at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center (Townview TAG) opened their doors to a group of teacher residents from the Dallas Teacher Residency teacher preparation program. The residents, who spend an entire clinical year in a paid internship, training under the guidance of a mentor teacher in a Dallas ISD school before becoming full time teachers within the district, use school visits at a number of campuses throughout the city of Dallas to enhance their residency experience throughout the year. Along with their clinical internship, residents take graduate level coursework towards their Master’s degree and also earn their teacher certification at Texas A&M University – Commerce. The 14-month preparation program works specifically to train teachers to teach in Dallas ISD, thus the opportunity to visit and learn from other campuses such as Townview TAG, allow for the residents to make tangible meaning between their clinical experiences and their academic coursework.
“Visiting Townview TAG reaffirmed my personal teaching philosophy that I have been able to develop and continuously revise during my time as a resident teacher,” said High School Resident Emily Brokaw. “Visibly evident throughout the school was the strong culture. There was a culture of respect between students and teachers, which directly transferred into the classroom where the high expectations both students and teachers had for one another other created an amazing learning environment.”
Over the course of the morning, the group of teaching residents toured the school, observed the teaching and learning that took place in several classrooms that were in session, interacted with students, and had the opportunity to debrief with Principal Mackey. According to Dallas Teacher Residency Co-Founder, Elizabeth Kastiel, school visits serve as an instrumental part in the development of these teaching residents.
“Even though our residents spend an entire year (over 1,500 clinical hours) training in a Dallas ISD school, I am a firm believer in the power observing great teaching can have in improving your own practice as a developing teacher,” said Kastiel. “Great teaching occurs in all types of schools and school environments and we want to expose our residents – who will be future teachers in Dallas ISD, to examples of great teaching. The teaching and learning taking place at Townview TAG is at such a high-level, and we are incredibly grateful to have collaborative partners such as Principal Mackey that are willing to provide these opportunities to our resident teachers.”
Townview TAG serves as the second of a series of six school visits the teacher resident’s plan on visiting throughout the school year where the group will have the opportunity to visit traditional comprehensive public schools, private schools, magnet schools, and charter schools.