Today, educational inequality exists along economic and racial lines. Too many children are condemned to substandard educational opportunities based solely on their zip code. As we work toward our mission, MTR employs a model of training that emphasizes the spiritual, social, and instructional needs of teachers that we call Christian Community Education (CCE).
The Christian faith is both a belief and an ethic. It is a way to think and to live. God constantly calls his people to create and cultivate places that are fair. Our faith demands of us to seek justice, defend the oppressed, and to take up the cause of the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17). We believe providing for the common good through education, beginning with the most marginalized, is a valid response to the gospel.
We believe all people are created in the image of God and, therefore, possess equal value and rights. As a result, every child – regardless of race, class, religion, or neighborhood – deserves access to the highest quality of education. Moreover, as image-bearers of God, we believe that all people are born with immense potential and capacity to become inquisitive learners.
We understand that within a publicly funded education system a free and quality education is promised to all children, regardless of race, class, or religion. We provide quality teaching first and foremost by establishing a safe and healthy learning environment that is essential to student learning. Therefore, as teachers within a state-sponsored setting, we understand, believe in, and uphold keeping religious instruction out of the classroom as an essential ingredient to student learning in a public environment.
We see God’s end as the restoration and redemption of all creation, bringing order and justice to his kingdom under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe the Christian’s role in life is to promote the goodness of the coming Kingdom of God into all aspects of life, including education. And it is a unique contribution of the Christian to serve not only what is good for all people, but to do so beginning with the most vulnerable and marginalized. We believe it is a valid response to the gospel to be the very best teacher we can possibly be for students in our city’s lowest performing schools.
We believe that we work for God, as well as for schools and students. As a result, we are motivated to teach with excellence and display the highest degree of character and professionalism. We are to be servants of our schools, administrators, students, and families, willingly moving into places of need in ways that display the grace and goodness of our God.
We believe that our struggle is not simply against dysfunction and a lack of resources, but against demonic power. There are spiritual forces at work that seek to deny the image-bearing dignity of human beings. Therefore, it is essential that the Christian teacher rely on the resources and disciplines of faith to provide the power necessary to teach and live with effectiveness and joy.
Note: While our method of training is communicated within a Christian worldview and context, residents are not required to adopt or accept a personal Christian statement of faith for participation within the Memphis Teacher Residency.
It is through relationships and in community that God has created people to thrive. We do not aspire to be individual silos of teaching excellence, but a single community—a movement of hundreds of teachers and leaders living, struggling, celebrating, and working together within our partner schools and neighborhoods.
MTR implements a variety of experiences in order to foster community and healthy relationships and promote a powerful esprit de corps. The first of which is to provide a sense and place of belonging for each resident.
See our calendar for the specifics of our community events.
Our mission is summarized as Christian love expressed in equal education. As such, our goal is not simply to provide effective teachers to our city’s schools that employ approximately 7,000 teachers. For students to learn at high and equal levels, effective teachers must be provided to students in all years. Training high-potential teachers and focusing their placement in specific partner neighborhoods meaningfully advances the goal of ensuring that students in these neighborhoods have effective teachers in each year of their education.
The results of a 1996 research study found that students with comparable abilities and second grade achievement levels assigned to the most effective teachers for three consecutive years had a 5th grade math achievement advantage of more than 50 percentile points over their peers who were assigned to classroom teachers for three consecutive years that were the least effective. Quality and consecutive teaching has a dramatic and powerful positive effect on student achievement.
Our intention is to focus our teacher placement within specific MTR partner K-12 feeder-pattern schools that serve students within identified partner neighborhoods. This intentional focus will increase the access to high-potential, residency-trained teachers for children in MTR partner schools. Now in our 9th year, MTR currently has 297 residents and graduates teaching and leading mostly within our 38 partner feeder-pattern schools that serve six MTR partner neighborhoods: Binghampton, Orange Mound, Frayser, Mitchell Heights, Graham Heights, and Alcy Ball.
See our most recent school maps for data on our neighborhood teacher placements.
We believe the residency model is the most intensive and effective means by which to prepare teachers. Our twelve-month training provides a Master of Urban Education degree and a full-year internship as a co-teacher serving in an under-resourced community. Residents receive regular feedback from a mentor teacher and an MTR instructional coach.
Christian love expressed in equal education demands a critical mass of highly effective teachers for students in Memphis’ historically lowest performing schools. We believe the residency model is the most intensive and effective means by which to prepare teachers, and we value our membership in and collaboration with the National Center for Teacher Residency (NCTR) network. Our twelve-month training provides a Master of Urban Education degree and a full-year internship as a co-teacher serving in an under-resourced community. Residents receive regular feedback from a mentor teacher and an MTR instructional coach.
We understand that summer learning loss is a major contributor to the disparity in educational achievement between children growing up in poverty and their wealthier peers. Since 2013, MTR has operated MTR Camp to offer high-quality academic and arts enrichment summer day camps for students in several MTR partner elementary schools.
In this 2014 publication, MTR shares lessons we have learned about teacher preparation and support. We chose to focus on the theme of community, as it encompasses both our method for supporting teachers and our strategy for city-wide educational impact. We hope the lessons we have learned and the data we have collected can be helpful to the broader education community.