Read Better Be Better’s contribution to the teacher shortage
Arizona has a critical teacher shortage: at the start of the 2017-18 school year, there were 1,968 vacant teaching positions, and 3,408 teaching positions are filled with people who don’t meet standard teaching requirements (Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, December 2017).
Equip Teachers To Manage Any Classroom
In discussion with administrators of such districts, we learned that a significant portion of those leaving the classroom are first-year teachers who feel under-prepared for success in today’s classrooms. Today’s teachers are more than just purveyors of information – teaching has gone far beyond pedagogy, which means preparing teachers requires a diverse and multi-faceted approach.
As such, there is an opportunity–and indeed a need–for nonprofit organizations to partner with institutions of higher education to offer community-based solutions to redefine and revitalize what it means to be an educator.
Starting in the 2017-18 school year, all Read Better Be Better Site Leaders receive 6-8 hours of professional development prior to entering the classroom. Training begins with a broad-stroke social-justice-infused motivational module and develops into more a focused and detailed technical training, following a site visit.
Site Leader Training
During a 10-week semester, each Site Leader then facilitates a classroom of 32 students as they work through a prescribed, highly-structured curriculum and program activities. Site Leaders are managed by District Leaders who are experienced educators hired to consistently monitor, coach and evaluate Site Leaders on and off site. District Leaders are also the facilitators of weekly peer-learning sessions. This meeting is an opportunity for all Site Leaders in each school district to come together to share stories, celebrate successes and seek help with challenges.
Our Site Leaders Become Well-Prepared Teachers
In addition, all Site Leaders receive a bespoke series of monthly workshops designed specifically to meet their needs and executed by local content experts. Topics include–but are not limited to–Classroom Behavior Management, Cultural Awareness, Team-building, Literacy, and Social Justice.
In developing and executing this extensive workforce development program with student teachers from across the valley, we have become further convinced that such partnerships between teachers colleges and education-focused nonprofits can effectively form part of the solution to the teacher shortage.
Our alumni feedback is fierce:
“The skills I’ve gained have put me way ahead of the game in terms of teaching skills and classroom management. RBBB has also given me a new outlook on the education system in Arizona.”
When Site Leaders graduate from RBBB to continue their learning during clinical experience, we are confident and proud that they will be better educators and advocates in and beyond the classroom.