We understand that teaching is a critically important, complex and intellectually challenging endeavor.
We also recognize that learning to teach well requires time, sustained effort, and ongoing support and development throughout a teacher’s career.
To assist with that development, the KSTF Teaching Fellowship program is divided into three phases, with each phase building on the next. Two key threads also run through all five years of the program: practitioner inquiry and building connections through cohorts. Here’s what to expect during your journey.
Phases of the Program
Phase One (Years 1 & 2)
During the first two years of the program, Fellows reflect on and deepen their own math or science knowledge, develop the specialized forms of content knowledge needed for teaching, and use that knowledge to create profound learning opportunities for students.
While focusing on these areas, Fellows are also supported in becoming a community of inquiry that engages with and as critical friends. This emphasis on inquiry with others serves as the foundation for teachers leading from the classroom.
Phase Two (Years 3 & 4)
In the third and fourth years of the program, Fellows learn increasingly sophisticated ways to examine their teaching, classroom culture and student learning using many kinds of data. The overall goal is for Fellows to understand and improve learning opportunities for all of their students.
In this phase, Fellows are supported in bringing their school colleagues into this work and becoming more open to others’ perspectives.
Phase Three (Year 5)
In the final year of the program, the focus of inquiry shifts from a Fellow’s classroom to the professional community in which the Fellow works.
Fellows grapple with their own professional goals and commitments and what it means for them to lead in their context. They learn to understand their school and local community as a system, understand multiple leverage points for change, and experiment with ways to lead those communities toward better outcomes.
Thread One: Practitioner Inquiry
Professional development for teachers is almost always “delivered” or “provided” from an external source. We take a different approach. We help them learn the skills to study their own teaching practice, including the habit of doing so regularly. We also teach them to recognize the importance of this inquiry. It’s probably the most effective and efficient way to improve as a teacher.
Practitioner inquiry allows teachers to develop themselves instead of being developed. It allows them to build connections with other teachers, thus broadening the development beyond the individual teacher. And above all, practitioner inquiry allows teachers to be the primary agents in generating, critiquing and sharing their knowledge of both teaching and learning.
Thread Two: Building Connections Through Cohorts
Our Fellows Program is built on a cohort model that allows Fellows to connect with peers who are at roughly the same point in their teaching careers. The groups that Fellows form in their cohorts allow them to experience small learning communities and experiment with various roles teachers might play in those communities. These small learning groups strengthen connections while modeling small, peer-led teacher communities in ways that help our teachers re-imagine their working relationships in their own high schools.
In addition, Fellows have multiple opportunities to work with colleagues beyond their own cohort. They can work with others in regional groups, in groups focused on teaching specific disciplinary skills, practices or concepts, or in groups teaching in similar contexts.