Teacher Sitting Next to Student Reading

What is a Teacher Residency?

Teacher residencies are the most comprehensive model of teacher preparation in the country. Residencies raise the bar for quality while reducing historical and enduring barriers to entry for teachers of color and other underrepresented groups. The teacher residency model of preparation prioritizes in-classroom experience working with students in partnership with a strong mentor teacher and academic coursework that is closely aligned with classroom experience. 

To help mitigate the financial barriers some face in becoming certified teachers, teacher residents are paid a living wage or stipend during their residency. The model is widely recognized for removing barriers for talented individuals entering the teaching profession and a proven strategy to increase teacher diversity, effectiveness and retention.

Before the school year begins, WEA's residents will participate in a summer institute with a cohort of other residents and be matched with an experienced teacher in their content endorsment area. Teacher Residents will then start the school year in the classroom and learn how to teach by working for an entire year alongside a highly trained, supported mentor teacher in the school district where the resident will eventually work. Throughout the year, residents receive formal and informal feedback from their mentor teachers, coaches, principals, and other support staff. Residents will complete a second summer institute with their cohort to complete the certification process. 

"The teacher residency model has the potential to support systemic change and the building of the teaching profession, especially in the most challenging districts. Initial research is promising as to the impact residencies can have on increasing the diversity of the teaching forces, improving retention of new teachers, and promoting gains in student learning. Residencies support the development of the profession by acknolwedging that the complexity of teaching requires rigorous preparation in line wiht the high levels of skill and knowledge needed in the profession. Residencies also build professional capacity by providing professional learning and leadership opportunities for accomplished teachers in the field, as they support the growth and development of new teachers. These elements of strengthening the teaching profession can create long-term benefits for districts, schools, and, most importantly, the students they serve."

— Guha, R., Hyler, M. E., and Darling-Hammond, L. (2016). The Teacher Residency: An Innovative Model for Preparing Teachers. Learning Policy Institute. 

On Jan. 4, WEA, along with the Association of Washington School Principals, Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Professional Educator Standards Board and Washington Association of School Administrators, hosted a symposium focused on teacher residencies as a promising strategy.

Return to the Teacher Residency Homepage.