Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"Changing Requirements for New Teachers" by Laura Bemus, Assistant Superintendent for Greenville City School

Laura Bemus
For the past four years, there has been a change for new teachers. Prior to that time, when a teacher graduated from a college or university, meeting the education requirements to become a teacher, they applied for and were issued a two year provisional teaching license from the Ohio Department of Education. Now, upon graduation a prospective teacher is issued a Resident Educator license with four years of additional requirements from the Ohio Department of Education. When those requirements have been met, then a teacher is issued a professional teaching license.

The purpose of the Ohio Resident Educator Program is to benefit improved teacher effectiveness and improve student learning. The timeline of best practices focuses on experience in year one with knowledge of students, content, instruction, assessment, learning environments, collaboration, professional growth, observation, and goal setting. These areas of focus correspond with the seven teaching standards for the state of Ohio. In year two analyzing best practices is added to the focus. Performance is added in year three with a Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA). Developed by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity, Teachscape, and the Ohio Department of Education, RESA includes two videotaped lessons, as well as, evidence of assessments, communication, and a reflection on teaching practice. Leadership is the focus of year four. At the completion of year four, if a resident educator has completed all of their requirements, a resident educator applies for the 5-year professional teaching license.
Top: Julie Brewer
Bottom: Libby Langston

Teachers in the four years of the resident educator program have specific requirements for each year of that program. It is a formal program that includes mentoring on an ongoing basis. During year three resident educators are required to administer a performance-based assessment and must pass this assessment to become eligible for the professional educator license. If an educator doesn’t pass this assessment, they are required to retake the deficient portions of the assessment.

Mrs. Julie Brewer is completing her fourth year as a resident educator with Greenville City Schools and she stated that, “The first two years of the program I had a one-on-one mentor who met with me regularly to check in on my progress. Those conversations about what was going well, what wasn’t going so well, and what could be done to make improvements were crucial to my self-reflection process as an educator. I’m so thankful to have had a wise listening ear who helped me through those first couple of years. As a greater emphasis continues to be placed on data, the Resident Educator Program has helped me find ways to collect, analyze, and use this data. Additionally, the very practice of self-evaluation and having progress check-points can only help as teachers seek to become more effective in their roles.” Mrs. Libby Langston, also a fourth year resident educator with Greenville City Schools shared that, “The four year Resident Educator program has been helpful in allowing me to meet and work with other entry level teachers and has been very beneficial in building a network of professionals to work with and share ideas. Through the Resident Educator Program I have been allowed to spend more time analyzing and reflecting on my teaching based on the Ohio Standards for teachers.”

The Ohio Department of Education wants all educators to never stop asking the question, “How can I be a better educator tomorrow than I am today?” The process of becoming an effective educator never ends and according to several of our Resident Educators, The Ohio Department of Education is meeting that goal.

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