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Does Teach For America's Summer Institute Really Prepare Teachers for the Classroom?

Institute guru Susan Asiyanbi responds to some of the common critiques of the intensive process.


Over the next few weeks, 5,200 new Teach For America members will become first-year teachers in some of this nation’s most challenging school settings. In lieu of a traditional, year-long teacher preparation program, they just spent five weeks attending one of the organization's eight summer training institutes. That short time span makes the institute an intense experience, and critics say it can’t truly prepare corps members to teach.

The institutes are overseen by Susan Asiyanbi, Teach For America’s executive vice president for teacher preparation, support and development, who draws on her personal experience growing up on the South Side of Chicago and working as a corps member in Newark, New Jersey, as well her Kellogg M.B.A. We caught up with her to find out what the organization is doing to improve its training program, and got some answers to some of the common critiques of the process.

GOOD: What does a typical day at the institute look like for a corps member?

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Developing Better Teachers by Training Them Like Medical School Residents

A new training program is educating teachers the way medical schools educate doctors. Can it help close America's persistent achievement gap?

Can the largest charter school organization in California close the achievement gap by revamping teacher training and ending the massive problem of high teacher turnover? The Aspire Public Schools Teacher Residency Program, a new teacher preparation initiative certainly wants to try. The program is approaching teacher education the way medical schools educate doctors—combining education theory, classroom practice, and intensive coaching and mentorship.

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