New Teachers in Urban Contexts: Creating Bridges with Teach For America Teachers

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Authors: Dina Portnoy and Tanya Maloney

Summary: This article examines how the Philadelphia Writing Project partnered with the University of Pennsylvania and Teach for America (TFA) to provide new TFA teachers with an additional week of focused training before they entered the classroom for the start of the school year. The program is designed as a collaborative model to help the TFA teachers learn about building strong classroom communities, learn about and see the diversity of the urban school as an asset, and develop relationships with experienced and successful urban school educators. In addition, the program looks specifically to initiate the TFA teachers into the reflective practices and teacher inquiry processes inherent in NWP sites and work. This article would be a timely and useful resource for any TCs, teams, or sites considering working on professional development/mentoring for educators new to the profession, early in their careers, or those moving into a more diverse school setting for the first time in their careers. It might also serve as a good resource for sites looking at intensive one-week models that focus on issues of classroom diversity or as an alternative to the traditional four-week Invitational Summer Institute.