The excitement that new teachers feel the weeks before classes begin can sometimes be overshadowed by anxiety and self-doubt. The drive to make sure those teachers have a successful first year led the College of Education to the develop the Beginning Teacher Institute (BTI) four years ago.
“Recent graduates have had teaching preparation in their senior year,” said Michael Maher, assistant dean for Professional Education and Accreditation. “We think of the BTI as job preparation.”
The three-day summer institute, a supplement to new teacher orientations provided at the school or district level, has grown to 100 participants from across the state. Originally designed for NC State College of Education grads, the program has been opened to graduates of other universities at the request of superintendents.
The program aims to be motivational and is led by practicing teachers who are considered experts in the various areas that are covered such as communicating with parents, planning for the first day of school and developing a website. Participants leave with very deliberate, practical take-aways.
“Supporting practicing teachers is a service we provide to the school districts,” Maher said. “Teachers in their first through third year of teaching can apply to the program which is provided at no cost.”
Currently funded out of the College’s budget, a permanent funding source is being sought so the program can grow to accommodate 200 teachers.
“Professional development is a gateway into the minds of teachers who know exactly what they are doing,” said Delsa Castaneda, a second grade teacher at Pines Elementary School in Washington County who participated in the institute. “These teachers did not hold back, and I know they are rooting for us beginning teachers to achieve great things.”