For teachers-in-training who’ve never had any formal teacher education, being placed in a classroom setting on day one can be a bit like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end. But it’s exactly the right approach, said Woodrow Wilson Fellow Brandon Towns.
“You have to be thrown into the fire,” he said. “You have to have the opportunity to fail.
After completing a year of intense academic and on-the-job learning as part of a program to train science and math teachers, Towns and 10 other graduates are preparing for a three-year stint in several local schools.
The graduates — ranging in age from their mid-20s to their mid-40s — are the first to complete the University’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, a program designed to train working professionals to be teachers in high-need schools, while improving STEMM education.
Partner universities redesign their teacher preparation programs and immediately place fellows in local classrooms. After a year of classroom-based preparation, fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Ohio school.
Towns graduated from UD in 2011 with a degree in biology. Raised in the inner city of Columbus, Ohio, he has a passion for urban students.
He’s excited to put all he’s learned into practice, and he’s prepared. But he won’t say he’s ready.
“My mentor told me that if you ever feel ready for teaching, you need to stop being a teacher,” he said. “There’s always going to be something to surprise you. I know the content, I know the teaching methods, I know the behavioral modification techniques. So I know what I’m supposed to know, but I expect it’s always going to be a learning process.”
For bios on the 11 graduates, visit udayton.edu/news/articles/2012/05/2012_woodrow_wilson_fellows_bios.php