Teach Tomorrow in Oakland


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Case Studies


Khalil is a 28 year old African American male selected to participate in the 1st cohort of the

TTO program. At the beginning of the school year, he was not hindered by typical intern

institutional barriers (i.e. CSET/CBEST passage) and was guaranteed a position in the district.

Because the district agreed to place Interns from national partners instead of district-recruited

Interns, however, there was no actual placement for him. As a result, Khalil began the year

on the district over hire list, which allowed him to work side-by-side at an alternative middle

school with a credentialed teacher at full pay. Thankfully, Khalils background working with

students in the penal system prepared him for this work.

Four weeks into the school year, he was placed into a Kindergarten classroom, ending the

stream of substitutes that had haphazardly introduced the student body, of which 80% are on

the free and reduced lunch program, to their first school.

Full of passion and vigor, and armed with two weeks of TTO training (in addition to the meager

120 pre-service requirement at his University), Khalil endeavored to effectively teach these

Kindergarten students, which were 70% African American and 30% Latino and Asian.

To ease him into the classroom, Khalil was given an incomplete set of teachers manuals and

outdated curricular materials, with no training or support to implement the random sets of in-

class materials left by previous substitutes.

Four weeks into the placement, it became evident that Khalil needed additional support in

lesson planning, pacing, classroom set-up, and needed to develop curricular and pedagogical

knowledge at the Kindergarten grade level, to augment his middle school preparation.

These were areas that the Principal indicated needed greater attention, despite classroom

management and intern coaches provided by the district.

While Khalil was struggling with pedagogy, several parents were openly appreciative of his

efforts with their children, even going so far as to ask the Principal if Khalil could follow their

children to the next grade level. Further, the Principal had publicly noted that Khalils class

prepared excellent presentations for both the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest and Black

History Month, further demonstrating the impact of his family-friendly approaches.


What are the institutional barriers to supporting Khalil?


Given the current scenario, what are Khalils chances for retention?


Armando is a 30 year old Latino male who was selected to participate in the 1st cohort of

the TTO program as a Social Science teacher. Although he relocated to Oakland, he was

from a comparable diverse area, and was eager to work in a similar urban environment.

Armando was also not hindered by typical intern institutional barriers (i.e. CSET/CBEST

passage) and was guaranteed a Social Science position in the district. He was hired after his

first interview, and was excited to take a position at a school site of historical significance

for the African American community that had been reconstituted into two small schools.

The school sits in the midst of gentrification and abandoned homes; used needles litter the

sidewalk approaching the school and on any given day, police cars sit out front. Despite

Armandos excitement, within a few weeks, his principal reached out to the TTO program,

stating that she thought he would have been stronger out the gate. He needed immediate

assistance with lesson planning, pacing, classroom set-up, and deeper curricular and

pedagogical knowledge at the high school level. His IHE did not provide an intern-supervisor

until December a full 3 ½ months into his first year teaching; the district provided an

intern coach and classroom management coach, but they were largely ineffective in helping

him develop lesson plans and more meaningfully engage his students. A visit to his class in

November revealed students who respected Armando, but whom could not remain in their

seats throughout a class period, often complaining of not knowing exactly what to do.

At the middle of his first year, Armando had two University supervisors, and was slated to

receive another in the spring. His second supervisor had suggested that he relocate to the

suburbs and leave the monkey students; Armando felt his supervisors exacerbated the

frustration he felt his first few months in the classroom.

Despite the lack of support from his IHE, Armando was committed to improving his practice,

and worked diligently to build community in his classroom. For example, at one of the monthly

TTO professional development sessions, Armando shared a powerful connection with an

African American student who had a history of fighting; this student was subsequently placed in

the penal system. Armando recognized that this student was caught up and planned to visit

this student just to let him know that I still care.


What are the institutional barriers to supporting Armando?


Given the current scenario, what are Armandos chances for retention?


"I can't thank you enough for assigning my coach! Her coaching, mentoring, insight, and perspective

has been a HUGE blessing. She is my touchstone of teaching. She is just amazing and I couldn't have

asked for a better coach!"

Cohort 2 member, 3rd grade teacher

"I just wanted to thank you for having us make the lesson plans for the first two weeks of the school

year. The process and whole planning for more than the next day preparation has really relaxed me in

these first days of teaching. I appreciate your help and that of the coaches!"

Cohort 2 member, high school math teacher

"I just wanted to personally say that the lesson planning for TTO was really helpful for me; it has helped

me be over-planned."

Cohort 2 member, 2nd grade teacher

"Thank you for really preparing us!"

Cohort 2 member, high school math/science teacher

"I'm actually starting to like teaching today. The school is great, the admin is super supportive and if

they let me stay, I totally will."

Cohort 1 member, middle school teacher

"Not until this week did I really understand how special our group is, both as a group, a team, a

movement and as individuals. I feel blessed to have all the TTO people in my life, because otherwise just

based on the district and as a first year teacher, I might have thought that I was the one that was crazy!

I look forward to working with you this year, both as a member of Teach Tomorrow in Oakland (You

Know!) and as a caring and effective teacher for your daughter!"

Cohort 2 member, middle school science teacher

"I want to thank you for all the preparation and time you have given us, to prepare us to teach! I really appreciate everything!"

Cohort 2 member, 4th grade teacher

"Thanks for everything. Without TTO, my dream of becoming a teacher would not have been a reality."

Cohort 1 member, 2nd grade teacher