Teaching excellence is a life-long journey. In an enrichment setting, the biggest challenge for teaching artists is accumulating enough practice teaching and contact hours with students. Many times, enrichment teachers struggle to develop a balance between staff development trainings and practice teaching. Program administrators must be available and ready to commit time and resources to developing enrichment teachers.
Early on, teaching artists don’t have enough teaching”bandwidth” to achieve excellence overnight. Mentors and administrators can assist in creating a class context and content framework for new teachers. It’s a delicate process for staff administrators to blend the right amount of mentorship, observation, training, and on-going monitoring and on-site feedback to increase the effectiveness of a teaching artist.
Teaching challenges such as class management and content engagement can be a result of much needed on-site feedback as oppose to more trainings and workshops. Research shows that improvement in teaching practices and content delivery is based on feedback from the direct experiences of a teachers in the learning environment. The more tools in a teacher’s toolbox the better chance of success the teaching artist has in its content delivery. As a result, we can have more children master more skills in enrichment education.
Therefore, teaching artists need a very through process for their development as teachers and it will
take time. Time for the teaching artist to practice and time for the staff development team to provide on-going feedback with follow-up. At the beginning of a teacher’s teaching journey, perhaps we can at least provide the best process for developing teaching excellence. Isn’t that a start?