Monday, February 16, 2009

Urban Teacher Academy

Another strategy that is implementing the TQE-R Grant is the Urban Teacher Academy (UTA), an intensive two-week summer program in which juniors are recruited from high schools to learn about teaching. They place a particular focus on the challenges and rewards of teaching in high-poverty areas.

Students accepted to the UTA are not charged tuition. They are actually given a $250 incentive upon completion of the program (which is intended to cover the amount of money students could have been making at summer jobs during that two-week period). All expenses for books, materials and food are paid by the UTA.

Students tour the College of New Jersey's campus, participating in teambuilding activities and attending lectures by education professors on teaching. The students also get to try their hands at teaching by planning their own mini-school involving children from Ewing Township’s summer camp.

Mr. Wayne Dennis, Vice Principal from Patton J. Hill Elementary School in Trenton, says that the UTA helps to “dismiss myths about urban teaching." After all, as Mr. Dennis points out, children from urban areas deserve the same quality of teachers as children from more affluent areas.

The UTA allows students to interact with urban teachers. They also observe presentations about topics such as multiculturalism, classroom management, addressing students with special needs, and effective teaching in math and science classrooms. Mr. Justin Friedman, a 2006 UTA student, says that the UTA helped him to see that urban teaching is challenging, but rewarding.

Watch a video about the Urban Teacher Academy:

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