Ambitious Instruction: Teacher Preparation at Curry

In this new blog series, we introduce contributions by the inaugural class of the Curry School’s new Mentor Teacher Training Program, funded by a grant through the Virginia Department of Education. The Curry School partners with local school divisions to deliver a graduate course at no cost to their highly recommended teachers. The course focuses on ambitious, evidence-based coaching and mentoring practices that facilitate high-quality teaching practice. While enrolled in the course, these mentors refine their practices while developing the skills of future teachers’ in their classrooms. In this post, mentor Beverly Kerr shares her perspectives about the course and about the importance of mentoring.

Before participating in the Curry Mentor Teacher Training Program, I thought that I was a good mentor.  I guided several students through their student teaching and opened my classroom to even more practicum students.

After reading research on effective coaching and mentoring in the program, however, I am left wondering how much of an impact I truly made on those novice teachers’ learning.  If I am to be honest, probably very little.

Yes, I offered them opportunities to practice their craft, but I doubt that they left with many refined skills. I may have helped them through their student teaching but that is not the same thing as effective coaching or mentoring. Read more…

Guest Author

Beverly Kerr

Beverly Kerr

The Curry Teaching Fellowship

Teacher preparation has traditionally been the work of universities, while induction into the profession and mentor teacher training have been the work of the school divisions that hire new teachers.

Now, Curry faculty, staff and alumni are innovating and partnering to bridge the gap between teacher preparation and teacher induction. We are excited to introduce our new Teaching Fellowship.

Curry is partnering with Frederick County Public Schools, Goochland County Public Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools to pilot a new way of preparing and retaining high quality teachers. Each school division will select from among Curry teacher candidates in its areas of critical need (such as STEM, special education, and elementary education), as well as seeking candidates who represent the student populations they will serve. The school divisions will hire these “fellows” for a year-long residency that incorporates both the traditional fall student-teaching semester and the following spring semester as well. Read more…

Guest Author

Adria Hoffman

Adria Hoffman

M.Ed. '05 Soc Fdns

Educators as Entrepreneurs

For over a decade I’ve worked in the field of education in many capacities: as a high school history teacher, as a higher education administrator, as a faculty member in a teacher education program, and currently as a senior researcher in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education at the Curry School working to better understand how we can improve educational outcomes particularly for underrepresented and underserved populations.

To date, I’ve been—and I’ve considered myself—a teacher, an administrator, and a researcher. But never, in fact, an entrepreneur.

Rewind back to the winter of 2014, when during a freak snow storm in Charlottesville I met up with my friend Sara (Yeatman) Currier (M.Ed. ’10 Kines), at the gym. We were the only ones there, and while on the treadmill our conversation shifted to why there were no group fitness options that incorporate something we already love to do: run! Read more…

Guest Author

Claire Mitchell Headshot-300

Claire Mitchell

Ph.D. ’13 Higher Ed

Taking the Uneasy Road

Taking the easy road will never lead to lasting rewards. Rather, paths that make you uneasy, unsure, or uncomfortable may end up far better than you could ever imagine.

These difficult times allow for exponential growth and development. I have heard a lot of admirable people talk about this over the years and always rolled my eyes. However, I never found it to be truer than when I left the Curry School, which seemed counterintuitive at the time.

The minute I stepped on Grounds, I fell in love with Virginia and all the University had to offer. Thanks to the amazing people I met at UVA, I was able to grow as an individual and professional. My original plan had always been to keep going to school. I wanted to get my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and go straight through to my PhD but quickly realized life cannot always be planned. Read more…

Guest Author

Kaitlyn Miller

Kaitlyn Miller

M.Ed. '15 Ed Psych: App Dev Science

Bringing Curry’s Principles to the World’s Most Vulnerable

Every year, thousands of refugee families arrive in Virginia searching for good schools and hospitals, affordable housing, economic opportunity, and a sense of belonging. These families – many of whom settle in Charlottesville – assimilate, open businesses, become professionals and add to the unique cultural diversity of the United States.

During my time at Curry I student-taught an ESL history class at Charlottesville High School that included a number of students who had recently resettled in the US. At the time, I only briefly considered what these children experienced prior to their arrival. They came from Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan – places I loosely followed in the news but about which I knew relatively little.

Where were these families before they sought asylum in Charlottesville, and what difficulties had they faced? The answer to that question was complex and saddening, and it would become the basis for my career. Read more…

Guest Author

Liz Bond

Elisabeth Bond

M.T. '07 Soc Studies Ed