How you like the teaching fellows teaching in BS?

<p>These teaching fellows usually are fresh out of college and only have a teaching contract with the school for one year. Has your student been placed in a teaching fellow's class? How do you like them in general, compared with full time teachers with more experience? Would you feel comfortable that your student is in a year long class with a teaching fellow as the instructor, especially in their junior or even senior years?</p>

<p>At schools I am most familiar with, we have had good experience with teaching fellows. However, they were encountered in 9th and 10th as they are usually used for intro level courses.</p>

<p>In some schools, they not only teach major lower level courses but also teach year long 11th grade courses and senior electives.</p>

<p>Wow, thats not good news DAndrew. Is that happening in your school?
Actually this question was asked during our revisit day. I was happy to hear these teachers shadow a current teacher. We were also reassured that fellow teachers are only in intro level courses.</p>

<p>I would hesitate to offer a blanket condemnation of teaching fellows so quickly. Often they are BS products themselves, and distinguished graduates from highly competitive colleges/programs. What they may lack in experience they may, if they're good, gain in rapport. I've seen it cut both ways.</p>

<p>Why do you have to pay 50 grand a year to get novice teachers?</p>

<p>Invent: At public schools we pay 50 grand for older, useless teachers that we can't get rid of. </p>

<p>Age and experience don't matter as much as passion for kids and a love for teaching. I'll take that any day!</p>

<p>All the teaching fellows I know are graduates of prestigious colleges and often went to private high schools as well, and are responsible teachers as far as I can tell, but in my view as in any profession experience still counts. Remember they had almost zero teaching experience. To have them teaching major year long intro level courses is already somewhat a "gamble", let along letting them teach advanced courses. I brought up this topic here to get a sense on whether I am the only one who is concerned about it. If your student was placed in a teaching fellow's class for their 11th grade History, would you let it be or would you ask the school for a re-placement?</p>

<p>A novice teacher is not necessarily a bad one. Just as one that has been around since the beginning of time is not necessarily a good one. This whole issue of "what I am paying for" really worries me.</p>

<p>Suffice it to say that someone younger is likely more aware (based on personal experience) of what it is like to go through the process. Novice teachers often did internships and other job rotations prior to coming to the school. And some of my best teachers at Exeter, frankly, were first year teachers who weren't yet molded to stay "in the box", were more open to listening to my concerns (social or academic) and pushed the envelope.</p>

<p>Novice teachers are also heavily supervised.</p>

<p>These are not just novice teachers with limited experience. They are often new to teaching and def new to the school, and they are to be kept for one year only by contract. I am not for getting rid of the teaching fellow program, but I don't think it's too much to ask not to put them on the "high stake" courses.</p>

<p>DAndrew - I would agree with you that it doesn't make sense or seem kosher to use them for advanced courses. It also surprises me that the school would do that since typically the more experienced teachers with seniority see teaching the advanced courses as a privilege.</p>

<p>If teaching internships are as competitive as some teaching jobs at the most famous schools, there could be upwards of 200 people applying for the fellowship. These are not rubes who will cheat you out of "what you paid for;" they are highly educated young professionals with a genuine interest in teaching who beat out (I'm guessing) 100 or more equally highly qualified young men and women to be there. Teaching fellowships typically involve a lot of observation and feedback from a mentor teacher as well as oversight on lesson plans, assignments, grading, etc. Typically a Teaching Fellow has a reduced level of no more than two classes. Compare to my first year as a boarding school teacher where I taught five classes, including two for which there was no existing syllabus. (and those kids all turned out fine!) </p>

<p>Would I be concerned if a child of mine were taught by a novice teacher in a "high stakes" class? Not even a little bit. </p>

<p>(I'd also venture so far to argue that it may actually be easier for a new teacher to teach upper level classes. Older kids need less guidance in terms of writing, critical thinking, and class participation. They also have fewer developmental issues, which means the new teacher doesn't have to worry as much about classroom management and can focus on content.)</p>

<p>It is my understanding that St. George's gets hundreds of applicants for one teaching job. Obviously the location is a major attraction. Of course not all the applicants are young but they'll need that vibrancy for boarding school 24/7. I don't have a problem with novice teachers, they bring energy along with a closer connection to today's youth. As long as they can teach and my kid is absorbing knowledge then all is well. </p>

<p>One more tidbit, the students chatter about their teachers and it does get back to parents, advisors, faculty, department heads, Head Master, if there's an issue, it's corrected.</p>

<p>It feels like some top schools rely on teaching fellows teaching some sections of the core courses just as the experienced teachers. I am not talking about the new hires/novice teachers, who are limited in number because the school is unlikely to have a big number of openings for teaching positions every year. To me, the teaching fellow program should be more of a teacher training program than a way of saving cost for the school, where they seem to be trying to keep the head count of full time teachers low by hiring a relatively big number of new teaching fellows each year. As a result, teaching fellows are "everywhere" - all grades, all courses and all levels. It's a worrisome trend.</p>

<p>DAndrew - would you mind saying what school is using teaching fellows in the manner you described?</p>

<p>My experience has been that only 2-3 a year are used and typically it is a fill in for a teacher on sabbatical, or one who is doing a stint with SYA.</p>

<p>creative, I meant to raise it as a general issue of concern in search of perspectives and practical tips. I don't want to single out specific schools, but in one of the schools I am familiar with there are close to 20 teaching fellows in a given year.</p>

<p>Well, given that some schools utilize 2-3 carefully selected teaching fellows a year and other schools are using up to 20 per year, it sounds like every prospective parent should be asking a lot of questions about a school's teaching fellow program. </p>

<p>DAndrew, this is a very interesting topic you have raised. I was never aware that schools approached this issue so differently.</p>

<p>My guess is there are only 2 schools with a number near 20 teaching fellows per year, and their programs are big because their prestige names will allow the fellows to (theoretically) move on to good placements elsewhere (and maybe they can cherry pick the best ones every once in a while). I went to one of these two 20+ years ago and had several teaching fellows over the course of 3 years. I wouldn't say a single one was unqualified, though I "gelled" better with some than others. If you're not unhappy about teaching fellows shepherding your DC through their Ivy education 4 years hence, why the concern now? As Albion points out, they've all been closely vetted, are on relatively short leashes, and had to withstand significant competition to land the gig.</p>

<p>PDad, I guess partly it's because I have different expectations of BS and college. I expect solid acadmic training as foremost and necessary from BS while for college I'd compromise somewhat for better summer intership opportunities, better perceptions/acceptance in job market and graduate school admissions etc. That could be just me. </p>

<p>Thanks for sharing your experience with teaching fellows, which is somewhat reassuring, but I find it hard to believe that as a whole what teaching fellows can offer in classrooms is no different than experienced full time teachers can, just as I don't believe the graudate teaching assistants (who are usually PhD candidates vetted through competitive admission process) are the same as professors in classrooms at colleges.</p>

<p>"Thanks for sharing your experience with teaching fellows, which is somewhat reassuring, but I find it hard to believe that as a whole what teaching fellows can offer in classrooms is no different than experienced full time teachers can, just as I don't believe the graudate teaching assistants (who are usually PhD candidates vetted through competitive admission process) are the same as professors in classrooms at colleges."</p>

<p>I'm sympathetic with this position. With BS, I expect an experienced instructor engaging the kids around the Harkness table or leading leading a science or math class perhaps without the Harkness table. Class size alone means plenty of opportunity for the teacher to add value, so I would be displeased by "Fellows," TAs by another name, leading the class without an experienced teacher present.</p>

<p>With regard to college, TA led classes really make me wonder what we're paying for. How exactly is a large lecture class led by a TA better than an online class led by a star?</p>