Educational institutions in our region and those preparing to enter the field of teaching face many challenges. Regional public schools are dealing with tight budgets and a shortage of substitute teachers. Colleges want to provide more experiential opportunities for the next generation of educators, and teachers-in-training want a broader and deeper view of their field, and the chance to learn from experienced teachers.
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Teacher Immersion Fellow (TIF) Program solves all of those issues and is a proven win-win for all its partners. 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 acts as the liaison among all the partners and provides marketing, recruitment and coordination services. BOCES 2 Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development provides required professional development workshops. Regular meetings with all participants provide an opportunity to monitor and evaluate experiences. Teacher Immersion fellows are paid a flat daily fee through their sponsoring district, which in turn is aid-able through New York State and BOCES, resulting in substantial cost savings. Districts benefit from having a dependable substitute workforce, and it’s a great way 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.