Student teachers gain experience in CPS program

September 6, 2011 3:37:14 PM PDT
As a new school got under way Tuesday for Chicago Public Schools, some students began their training as teachers.

A select group of student teachers will spend the year attending the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). The focus is to train and mentor future teachers of Chicago's schools.

More than 1,000 individuals interested in becoming teachers applied for the Academy for Urban School Leadership Chicago Teacher Residency. Ninety were selected.

Tuesday marked the first day of class at Tarkington School of Excellence, one of the teaching academies, in Marquette Park. Two student teachers there will experience a full school year of training in the classroom under the guidance of an experienced mentor teacher.

Years ago, Sarah Stefan went through the teaching program and has now been a mentor training student teachers for years.

"It really makes me a better teacher because I am really thinking critically about every single thing I am doing in the classroom because I know that I need to explain what I am doing and why I am doing it to my residents," Stefan told ABC7.

Olivia Liddell, who always wanted to teach, is already comfortable in the classroom.

"It was nice to finally meet to these students because for weeks now we have only seen their names on paper, we've only been hearing about them, so to have them come in this morning ready, eager to learn, it was great to actually just see them and just jump right in," said Liddell.

"But we know a lot about what their strengths and weaknesses are, so we can jump right in and because there are three people in the room, we are able to really differentiate the instruction," said Stefan.

Resident Ryan Carrizales always dreamed of working with youth and the hands-on program gives him an opportunity to do just that.

"I love it. I love the school. I love the kids. Getting a chance to work with somebody who has been in the classroom and who knows what's going on just to have the opportunity to put into practice what I have learned," said Carrizales.

The residents, who spend a year in the program and earn $30,000, work with the students to get them to open up and to learn how to deal with difficult situations they may encounter throughout the day with other students?The selection was pretty rigorous," said Dr. Donald Feinstein, executive director, AUSL.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last week that he would like to expand the CPS Academy for Urban School leadership program to 14 schools in the next two years, with the intention of training an additional 200 teachers per year.

The urban leadership program works in conjunction with National Louis University. Graduates are expected to teach another five years at CPS schools.


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