Educational institutions in our region and those preparing to enter the field of teaching face many challenges:
- Regional public schools have been realizing a significant shortage of substitute teachers, and budgets to pay for them are increasingly tight.
- Local colleges are tasked with preparing the next generation of teachers and want to provide more experiential opportunities for their students.
- New teachers-in-training, both at graduate and undergraduate levels, want a broader and deeper view of their field. They wish to learn from the best, most experienced teachers. They want to network and make contacts that will help them throughout their career.
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Teacher Immersion Fellow (TIF) Program solves all of those issues, and more. It is a proven win-win for all its partners, and unsurprisingly, it is growing in both participation and popularity. In 2018-19, the TIF Program has six regional college partners, 19 participating local school districts, and 93 student fellows. Not bad for an initiative that began in 2016 with one college, one district and seven student educators.
BOCES 2 TIF Program Coordinator Kara Reidy-Vedder acts as the liaison among all the partners and provides marketing, recruitment and coordination services. She works with BOCES Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development to ensure participants take part in required professional development workshops. She also meets with all participants regularly to monitor and evaluate their experiences.
“Teacher Immersion fellows are paid a flat daily fee through their sponsoring district,” she said, “which in turn is aid-able through New York State and BOCES, resulting in substantial cost savings over traditional methods of hiring substitutes. The districts benefit from having the dependable substitute workforce the TIF Program provides, plus the flexibility of qualified educators who can help out wherever needed. It’s also a great way for school districts to vet candidates for future hiring.”
For student fellows, the experience is particularly beneficial. In addition to being paid for their work, they have the unique chance to embed themselves in district culture, run a variety of classrooms, teach different subjects and grade levels, learn from professionals, and get work experience in a functioning school environment. There’s an additional perk for fellows who wish to work over the summer — an opportunity to work in the BOCES 2 Extended School Year Program. For more information, visit www.monroe2boces.org/TIFP
Feature photo: Kara Reidy-Vedder (center) speaks with several Teacher Immersion fellows at the spring orientation session.
This page: New Teacher Immersion fellows from different area colleges meet each other, network and share experiences at orientation and other supportive professional development activities.