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Training Urban Teachers Who Stay

Cheyandria Monks is getting ready to teach a phonics lesson to a class of first graders. Monks, 29, is not a teacher – yet. She’s a resident at Liberty Elementary in Baltimore. Basically, she’s an apprentice.

Her host teacher, Angela Guidera, walks her through the lesson. Urban Teacher Center resident Cheyandria Monks, left, talks with her host teacher, Angela Guidera. Monks listens to a recording of a song about a train “clickety-clacking” down a track. “Read it first,” Guidera suggests, “because the song goes pretty fast.”

Monks’ residency is part of a program at Urban Teacher Center, a nonprofit based in Baltimore. It’s built on the idea that, like doctors and chefs, teachers should train side-by-side with pros before they take charge of their own classrooms. In a traditional school, teachers-in-training might spend six or eight weeks – maybe a semester – as student teachers. The Urban Teacher Center residency lasts 15 months.