Summer Training For Teach For America Underway In Tulsa

Wednesday, June 11th 2014, 6:26 pm
By: Emory Bryan

More than 600 people are training in Tulsa this summer to be classroom teachers. They're recruits from Teach for America and they'll be plugged into classrooms all over the country.

Bell Elementary in Tulsa is one of the teacher training sites. While none of the teachers in training will teach at that school, it's part of the strategy to bring in fresh ideas to the classroom.

Wednesday was the third day of training for the handful of people in Teach for America. This week they learned to write lesson plans for math and reading, but next week they will be leading instruction for 800 students.

"All of our corps members will get this intense training for five weeks, where the staff to corp ratio is very low, and they're getting constant feedback on lesson plans and how things are going in their classrooms," said TFA Skelly Site Director, Amanda Stinchcomb.

Part of the training is on the mechanics of teaching, everything from testing to having an effective teacher voice. The rest is on the Teach for America philosophy, which is why Samantha Romero said she signed up.

"Being surrounded with so many likeminded people that are, not only passionate about giving children a good education, but believing they could accomplish anything," she said.

Romero and 46 other corps members are training at Skelly Elementary, but they'll go outside Oklahoma into mainly urban classrooms with high numbers of poor children.

The corps members make a two year commitment.

"I realize teaching for two years can lead to so many other things. I want to teach for two, three, four years, but I don't know where else it will go," Romero said.

The biggest group of corps members in Tulsa this year is from North Carolina.

Most do not have training in education, but TFA's site director said their variety of skills can be an advantage.

"We become a more collaborative force of people because of the diverse set of experience that our corps members come with," Stinchcomb said.

The Teach for America corps members who will work in Tulsa are being trained in Oklahoma City.

Tulsa Public schools will have 100 TFA teachers in classrooms, the most ever.