First-year teachers arrive in Oxford at the end of May to begin their training. They live on campus at the University of Mississippi and spend their first week in class learning the most basic fundamentals of teaching while getting to know one another. By the end of this week, they have a general sense of how to engage with the Mississippi state curriculum and design a lesson plan.
In their second week, the first-year teachers begin preparing to teach at the MTC Extended-Year Summer Program at Holly Springs High School. This summer school program serves students in grades 6-12 from Holly Springs and Marshall County, in addition to other neighboring districts. Staffed by former MTC participants, the school provides a safe environment in which teachers can ease into the challenges of teaching in critical-needs areas.
Each teacher is assigned to a class corresponding to their subject with a couple other first-years, a few second-year participants, and a former MTC participant who serves as the classroom’s head instructor. This head instructor, known as a TEAM teacher, gives model lessons to help guide first-years in their own development.
During this first week of preparation, first-years give their first model lessons for evaluation by their TEAM teacher. Additionally, they practice classroom management skills in role-plays, scenarios in which TEAM teachers act out particularly difficult examples of student misbehavior for the first-years to manage.
First-year teachers alternate teaching lessons with observing their second-year and TEAM colleagues.
In the afternoons, they continue classroom management role-plays and learn more about teaching methodology in class at the university. The second-year teachers depart after three weeks, and first-year teachers begin to assume a larger role in the functioning of the school. In addition to supervised practice in teaching and classroom management, first-years also receive an introduction to the school environment of taking attendance, monitoring hallways, and forming connections with students.
By the end of the summer, first-year teachers have many of the basic skills they need when they leave for their individual schools in the fall.