New Program Provides Support from Many Angles
This spring Albuquerque Academy, in partnership with Central New Mexico Community College, launched a teaching fellows program that brings new educators into the classroom where they can gain valuable experience under the close eye of mentors.
The program will be a soft launch into a teaching career for the six fellows joining the Academy in the fall, says Associate Head of School Stephanie Lipkowitz, who co-led the initiative with English Department Chair Liz Payne. They will teach one section of a class while working closely with an experienced faculty member teaching the same or a similar course. A fellowship is not a guarantee of a permanent teaching position at the Academy; instead it is intended to be a structure that will better prepare teachers for a lifelong commitment to education and to make a meaningful impact on students throughout their careers.
“It will be a great experience for the fellows,” Lipkowitz says. “They will be much more supported than a typical first-year teacher — and even a typical experienced teacher in their first year at a new school — while teaching just a single class.”
Fellows will be observed by Lipkowitz, their mentors, department chairs, and instructional coaches on a regular basis. In addition, they will:
- Observe their mentors in the classroom
- Create lesson plans with their mentors
- Collaborate with their support team on assignments, assessments, and so on
- Co-lead an advisory group
- Assist on an immersive trip, like a foreign exchange or Ex Ed trip
- Explore texts and articles about all aspects of teaching and learning with the teaching fellow cohort
- Participate in a book club, exploring books about learning and education
“We’ll meet regularly to discuss other aspects of school life as well, like how to work with parents, provide effective feedback, and how to write a good comment,” Lipkowitz says.
Lack of training is one of the primary reasons the U.S. is facing a teacher shortage. “Young people are not going into education. And many of those that do leave within five years due to lack of support. We hope that our program will remove that ‘sink or swim’ feeling.”
A Bridge to Success
This first group, which includes two fellows with masters degrees and one with a Ph.D., will provide similar support for our newest Chargers. The fellows’ introduction to the community will be this August, when they run the new two-week Academy Bridge to Success program for entering sixth graders.
The goal of this optional, free program is to encourage a sense of belonging while preparing students for a successful career at the Academy. They’ll get to know their new classmates and new campus while brushing up on study skills and light academic work — a reorientation especially crucial following the challenges of the past year.
Hiring for the 2022-23 teaching fellows program will be available on the Academy’s employment and human resources webpage starting in January 2022.