Frequently Asked Questions

Selection Process

Do I need to have an education degree or any education background?

No. Any graduate of an accredited college or university with a Bachelors degree and 2.75 undergraduate GPA is eligible to apply for Memphis Teacher Residency.

What are the basic requirements to apply?

Residents are required to have US Citizenship or Permanent Residency, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75, and a bachelor’s degree by the start of the residency year.

What is the application process for MTR?

There are four stages in the application process for MTR:

  1. Online application
  2. Video Interview (Invitation Only)
  3. Selection Weekend (Invitation Only)

We encourage you to learn more here.

How competitive is the MTR selection process?

The selection process is competitive with multiple stages of review and interaction from application to offers. We are looking for outstanding people who have the desire and potential to be effective teachers in Memphis’ high-need schools.

Is a passing score on the Praxis exam for content required for admission to MTR?

Yes. For the Elementary Education cohort, residents are required to pass the Elementary Education: Content Knowledge Praxis exam. For the Secondary Education cohort, residents are required to pass the Praxis II Content Knowledge exam required for the specific content area. Please see our Praxis page for test names and codes and information on registration.

What if I already have a teaching license in another state?

If you already have a teaching license in another state you are still eligible to apply for Memphis Teacher Residency. The State of Tennessee Department of Education offers reciprocity with most states. MTR requires all residents to secure a TN State Teaching license through the reciprocal process prior to enrolling in MTR. Regardless of your license status, all MTR applicants will be required to take and pass all required Praxis exams for the State of Tennessee. All forms for out-of-state licensure are available online. Talk to your recruiter for more information.

What is selection weekend?

Applicants travel to Memphis for Selection Weekend as the final component of the application process. The weekend (Friday and Saturday) is designed to expose applicants to MTR in-person and gain a clear picture of the environment and dynamics of the program. The weekend includes a tour of MTR offices, resident apartments, and partner schools. Additionally, applicants provide a teaching sample, writing sample, and interview with both a graduate and staff member. Selection Weekend is mandatory.

MTR Residency Year

When does the residency year begin and end?

The Residency year lasts from June to May with orientation events typically starting the last week of May.

While the Residency training is a one-year program, MTR requires a three-year teaching commitment in an MTR partner school following the residency year. MTR continues to provide graduates with ongoing support and professional development through their entire teaching career in Memphis. This includes an MTR instructional coach for the duration of the three-year teaching commitment.

How much is the monthly stipend residents receive?

Each resident will receive a stipend of $14,400 for the full year of June – May. The stipend will be paid in twelve equal monthly installments ($1,200 each month), beginning on June 5th, and then on the 5th of each month through May 5th.

What does the residency year look like?

Visit the residency page for an outline of the residency year.

Must I commit to teaching in Memphis? For how long?

MTR graduates commit to teach for three consecutive years in Memphis immediately following the resident year. MTR graduates are placed in an MTR partner school and expected to teach in a partner school for the duration of their three-year post-residency commitment. Graduates that do not complete the service agreement will repay MTR $10,000 for each year that is not taught in an MTR partner school, with a maximum of $30,000.

Does MTR train residents in all grade levels and all subject areas?

MTR trains residents for Elementary Education and Secondary Education in the subject areas of Math, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, English and History, and ESL. In the Secondary Education program, preference will be given to those applying to teach in the Math and Sciences content areas.

How are residents matched with mentor teachers?

Residents will be placed with mentor teachers in their content and grade level area, and they are usually clustered with a small number of other residents at the same host school.

Mentors are recruited and selected by MTR through principal recommendations, classroom observations by MTR staff, personal interviews, and student achievement data.

What courses do residents take as part of the Master's Degree program?

Residents earn a Master’s in Teaching (MAT) from Christian Brothers University. Courses are offered at MTR’s offices at 1350 Concourse Avenue, Suite 366. These courses and this degree are only offered to our cohort of residents due to the unique characteristics and needs of our program.

Curriculum Calendar for MAT with Secondary Concentration (Licensure Grades 6-12)

Summer (June –July)
EDU 509 Planning and Assessment
EDU 566 Twenty-First Century Classroom Leadership
EDU 570 Summer School Clinicals
EDU 614 Learning Theories

Fall (August –December)
SE 625 Learning and Behavior Characteristics
EDU 530 Secondary School Methods
EDU 6421 Intensive Studies in the Content Area
EDU 667 Resident Internship in the Secondary School

Spring (January – May)
EDU 626 Reading in the Content Area
EDU 676 Capstone: Current Issues in Urban Education
EDU 667 Resident Internship in the Secondary School

Curriculum Calendar for MAT with Elementary Concentration (Licensure Grades K-5)

Summer (June –July)
EDU 509 Planning and Assessment
EDU 566 Twenty-First Century Classroom Leadership
EDU 570 Summer School Clinicals
EDU 614 Learning Theories

Fall (August—December)
EDU 6351 Teaching Mathematics and Science in the Elementary School
EDU 6311 Teaching Reading, Language Arts, and Social Studies in the Elementary School
EDU 668 Resident Internship in the Elementary School

Spring (January—May)
SE 625 Learning and Behavior Characteristics
EDU 676 Capstone: Current Issues in Urban Education
EDU 668 Resident Internship in the Elementary School

How is MTR protecting residents, staff and students during the COVID-19 pandemic?

MTR strongly encourages vaccination for COVID-19. We are currently precluded from requiring this vaccination by the state of TN.  However, if or when that ruling is retracted, MTR residents will, at that time, be required to be vaccinated.

About The Residency Experience

What costs are associated with the residency year?

Each of the following are provided at no cost to the resident:

  • Tuition & Books for Master’s Degree
  • Housing at Parcels at Concourse
  • Instructional Coaching for four years

MTR also provides residents with a $12,000 living stipend ($1,000 per month).

What starting salary can graduates expect after completion of the residency year?

All residents can expect a starting salary at $45,000 or higher. Depending on school placement and subject area, it can be significantly higher.

What Commitments Must Residents Make When They Enter the MTR Program?

In exchange for the benefits provided by Memphis Teacher Residency (master’s degree, living and housing stipend, etc.), residents commit to teaching in an MTR Partner school in an under-resourced Memphis neighborhood for at least three years following the residency year. Residents also commit to receiving professional coaching and guidance from MTR.

Do Applicants Need to be Christian to be Admitted Into the Residency Program?

No. People of all faiths are eligible to apply as MTR residents. Most MTR residents identify as Christian, however, residents identifying as non-Christians report that they feel comfortable and respected in the MTR community.

Living as a Resident

Does MTR provide housing?

Yes. MTR requires residents to live in the Parcels at Concourse apartment housing during the residency year. Single residents are paired with another single resident (same gender). Married residents receive half of the cost of the apartment rent and are required to cover the other half through personal resources. Other housing situations may be able to be accommodated on a case-by-case basis and exceptions to living in MTR-provided housing may be made in certain situations. Appliances are included in the apartments.

How does housing work for married residents or residents with families?

If you are married you are still able to live at the Parcels at Crosstown Concourse. MTR will cover half of the rent for your apartment, and you and your spouse will be responsible for the other half of the rent.
Exceptions to the requirement to live in the Parcels apartments are made for anyone already owning a home in Memphis or anyone with a family. Have a unique situation that isn’t addressed in this FAQ? Ask your question here.

Will utilities be covered?

No. Residents are responsible for their own utilities in the apartments.

Does MTR offer health insurance?

No, MTR does not provide insurance. MTR requires residents to have insurance. Individual health insurance policies are available at; some residents also find it affordable and possible to stay on a family policy.

Teacher Salaries and Loan Forgiveness

Are there any loan forgiveness opportunities for existing student loans?

Yes, there are several different loan forgiveness options for teachers, and MTR teachers qualify for almost all of them due to the high-need schools they teach in. Please see this page at the Department of Education link regarding loan forgiveness including Perkins, Stafford, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

A brief summary of our understanding of these opportunities is as follows. It is up to you to do the paperwork to get these loans forgiven, and it’s up to you to make sure you qualify, but we do offer a seminar during residency orientation to explain these programs to the best of our understanding. Here is a brief summary of our current understanding of the federal loan forgiveness law:

  • It is possible to get 100% of Perkins loans forgiven over 5 years of teaching in a low-income school. If you only serve the 3 required years after the residency program, you can still get 50% of your Perkins loans forgiven.
  • It is possible to get $5,000 of your Stafford and Direct loans forgiven ($17,500 if teaching math or science). A full five consecutive and complete years in a low-income school is required to receive the money.
  • To the best of our knowledge, every MTR partner neighborhood school is listed in the directory of low-income schools, but it’s up to you to ensure this.
  • It is also possible to get 100% of your remaining federal loans forgiven after 10 years of on-time payments during employment by governments, schools, or non-profits. This is called Public Service Loan Forgiveness. There is some red tape that you need to understand before going down this road, and there are stories of people missing out because they didn’t do things exactly right. You will want to talk to your loan servicer early on in the 10-year period to make sure you’re doing everything right to qualify.
  • We are not aware of any loan forgiveness opportunities for private loans.
What are typical salaries for graduates of MTR?

A recent survey of our graduates found that the average first-year salary right after graduation is $45,000. Generally speaking, 2/3 of residents will receive $43,000 in their first year of teaching as this is the starting salary at Shelby County Schools, and charters generally pay similarly or better. The higher average is due to about 1/3 of residents who receive various bonuses for being in the iZone, being a STEM teacher, etc.

Note that these are just first-year salary data. Salaries generally go up in subsequent years of teaching.

About the Organization

What is Memphis Teacher Residency?

Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR) is a faith-based, non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status founded in 2009 to recruit, train, and support effective teachers in a Christian context. MTR serves 31 partner schools in six strategic neighborhoods. MTR accomplishes this goal through three programs: a teacher residency and two summer academic enrichment camps. Post-Baccalaureate residents are invited to train with a mentor, receive coaching, and participate in Masters in Teaching (MAT) coursework through an accredited university. In addition, residents receive housing and a living stipend. During the residency, residents earn their MAT Degree, Tennessee teacher licensure, and agree to teach in Memphis high needs schools for three additional years.

MTR Camp and the Browne STEM Education Fellowship are designed to provide academic enrichment within a summer camp experience for Memphis students. Both programs recruit college underclassmen to work at the camps, receive training and explore a career in education.

What is MTR's Vision?

The vision of MTR is to use our specific work within education, in partnership with other holistic organizations, to help restore communities so that all individuals can become empowered contributors to our city and people of all races and classes can engage with one another in peace. In short, our vision is “restored communities living with dignity and in peace.”

What is MTR's Mission?

As a response to the gospel mandate to love our neighbors as ourselves, MTR will partner to provide students in Memphis neighborhoods with the same, or better, quality of education as is available to any student in Memphis by recruiting, training, and supporting effective teachers within a Christian context. Summarized, our mission is “Christian love expressed in equal education.”

How Much Does it Cost MTR to Train a Teacher?

It costs MTR approximately $50,000 to train and support each teacher over their full four-year MTR commitment. This cost compares favorably to other teacher preparation models.

How is MTR Funded?

MTR receives both public and private financial support. The organization currently receives AmeriCorps funds through the State of Tennessee and accepts grants from foundations as well as donations from businesses and individuals. We are grateful for the generosity of Memphians and those throughout the country, which helps make our work possible. Click here to donate.

Is MTR Part of Shelby County Schools or the Achievement School District?

No. While MTR works closely with Shelby County Schools (SCS) and Achievement School District (ASD) administrators, principals, and teachers to arrange internships for residents in these schools and to provide MTR graduates as candidates for job openings, MTR is an independent organization and not a part of SCS or the ASD.

Where is MTR Located?

MTR is located at 1350 Concourse Avenue, Suite 366 inside the Crosstown Concourse building.

About MTR Teachers

What Neighborhoods Do MTR-Trained Teachers Serve?

Most MTR-trained teachers serve in Binghampton, Frayser, Graham Heights, Mitchell Heights, and Orange Mound. We invite you to read more about the neighborhoods we serve.

What are the Demographics of MTR Teachers?

MTR strives to recruit men and women from diverse racial, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds. To meet our teachers, please explore the MTR Life page, or to explore our teacher demography further, see the “Residents” section of our Results and Data page.

Are MTR Teachers Effective?

Yes, MTR teachers generally positively affect student achievement, as indicated by recent Shelby County Schools and Tennessee Teacher Preparation Report Card evaluations. In addition, MTR teachers’ retention rates are well above the district average for new hires. Read more about MTR results here.

About The Residency Model of Teacher Preparation

What is a 'Residency Model' of Teacher Preparation?

The residency approach to teacher training is modeled on the medical residency. Like a medical resident, a teacher resident has an intensive internship/apprenticeship with an experienced practitioner. MTR residents serve as apprentice teachers in the classroom of experienced mentor teachers during their internship. Residents are in the classroom with their mentor during the entire academic school year, Monday through Thursday, for the full day. MTR residents learn from observation of their mentor and by taking on increasing responsibility over the course of the school year. Concurrently with the classroom internship, residents pursue coursework leading to a Masters in Teaching (MAT) degree from Christian Brothers University. MTR is a member of the National Center for Teacher Residencies, a national network of teacher residencies.

Is MTR an 'Alternative Route' to Teacher Certification?

No, MTR is not an alternative route. MTR residents graduating in good standing receive their Master’s in Teaching (MAT) through Christian Brothers University. This is an initial licensure program, which includes both graduate coursework as well as intensive field experience in a classroom with a mentor teacher.

Is MTR Like Teach For America (TFA)?

Both MTR and TFA are dedicated to educational equity and work toward this goal by strengthening the teacher pipeline. There are four key distinctives of MTR:

  • In-depth, year-long teacher preparation: Before becoming teachers of record, MTR residents have 12 months of teacher preparation, including graduate coursework leading to a Master’s in Teaching Degree (MAT) and a classroom apprenticeship for an entire school year.
  • Christian identity: Fundamental to MTR’s approach to education and community development is our Christian identity.
  • Neighborhood focus: MTR teachers are strategically staffed within specific partner neighborhoods. It is rare for an MTR resident or graduate to be the only MTR-trained teacher in a school.
  • Duration of commitment: MTR teachers commit to the year-long residency, plus three years of teaching following the residency, for a total of a four-year commitment.
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