Denise R.

Dallas / Fort Worth
First Year Teaching Fellow

What attracted me to Urban Teachers was the coaching and years of support. I was not only looking to teach, but to get my masters. And I wanted to make sure I was setting myself up for success in the classroom. I researched all the teacher training programs I could find and Urban Teachers was one of the longest and most comprehensive. They don’t just put you in the classroom and forget about you.

Honestly, the residency year was one of the hardest years of my life. They set a very high standard. I was working five days a week and taking classes five days a week. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and went to bed at midnight. What helped me get through it was my cohort. We really bonded in a very short period of time. Also, the students are so much fun. Seeing their faces every day really kept me going.

As a first year teacher, I feel so much more prepared than I would have without Urban Teachers. I’ve learned a lot about lesson planning– how to keep things interesting and engaging for all my scholars. I teacher second graders, so there’s a wide spectrum of reading levels. Today we did modified close reading. I had them do partner work to discuss the main idea. Then we discussed it as a group and they came to the board to write what they thought the main idea was. And that was just the introduction.

Something I learned very quickly is that in second grade there’s a lot of social learning. They’re learning to be themselves and learning to be in a class. I have to be very intentional with morning meetings and transition times to make it clear that we’re a class and we work together. They’re willing to help each other. They hold each other accountable. And I’m so proud of them for being so helpful with one another.