NYTimes (Archive): Rethinking how to teach the teachers
Updated: Sep 25
The origin story of the Reach University Graduate Institute, then known as Reach Institute for School Leadership, was told in 2007 by The New York Times in this article by Denise Caruso. That year, the Times reported, "Reach started an innovative program, designed by and for teachers, that has the potential to transform [the] first stressful years in the classroom."
As reported by Caruso: "In traditional credentialing programs, student teachers spend most of their time taking education courses and seminars. The time they spend in a classroom teaching students is relatively brief — often just two weeks."
"The Reach program," Caruso writes,"flips this traditional model on its ear."
The original article, published November 4, 2007, is available here.
Reach’s newly accredited, two-year teacher credentialing program has a goal of attracting a new generation of committed teachers, mentors and school administrators — and keeping them for a lifetime. In traditional credentialing programs, student teachers spend most of their time taking education courses and seminars. The time they spend in a classroom teaching students is relatively brief — often just two weeks.
The Reach program flips this traditional model on its ear. Instead of spending most of their time learning about being a teacher, Reach’s students start the program at the front of the classroom from the very first day, with a teacher mentor by their side.
“Most new teachers who fail, fail just because they’re new,” said Page Tompkins, the founder and director of Reach. “When they’re struggling with what to do with a problem, they had no one to say, in real time, ‘Let me watch you do this.’”
Terry Jones, a lecturer and intern coach in the secondary education department at San Francisco State University, finds Reach’s model innovative — and sensible.“Universities do not do a good job, if they do anything at all, teaching students how to manage a classroom,” said Dr. Jones, a teacher training expert who is an unpaid adviser to Reach.
“With Reach, young teachers go into the classroom, have experiences, then come to a seminar where their coach can add theory to what they’re learning first hand. It’s exactly the opposite of the way it’s done now.”
Page Tompkins, right, a founder of Reach, with Jackie Jenkins, a second-year teacher, in Oakland, California.