The first year of UChicago UTEP provides teaching candidates with an array of opportunities to study and become immersed in urban schooling. The Foundations of Education sequence, taken over three quarters, prepares candidates for the rigors of the classroom by building a knowledge base through academics, analysis, observation, personal exploration, and hands-on experience.
At the end of the spring quarter, candidates who demonstrate the necessary skills, knowledge, and dispositions required of an urban educator are invited to apply for the four-quarter residency.
The Foundations of Education sequence comprises four strands:
- Academic Strand, including subject-area and methods coursework. Academics for all pathways explore urban teaching and schools through philospohy, sociology, psychology, history, and public policy. Elementary candidates' year-long assignment to develop a teacher study, a school study and a child study is informed by an internship in a home-base classroom.
- Fieldwork Strand. As a cohort, candidates are guided through up to twelve observations at a variety of Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Charter Schools. Candidates learn how to become careful observers of schools and classrooms, administration and leadership styles, teachers and teaching styles, students and learning styles, and curriculum in practice. During this strand, candidates are exposed to Chicago-specific indicators of effective schools, leadership, professional communities, and relationships with parents. So that candidates can see and contrast a range of sites and school cultures, they visit nearby neighborhood and charter schools on the city’s South and West Sides and public schools in affluent suburbs.
- Tutoring Strand. Candidates tutor three students twice a week, in an afterschool program on a campus of the University of Chicago Charter School. They document their decision making in every lesson, and regularly share video of their sessions with peers and instructors to receive feedback and guidance.
- Soul Strand. Through a variety of media—including film, fiction, and memoir—candidates explore issues of teacher identity, educational equity, and the ways that race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and culture affect both teachers and students. The intellectual and introspective exchanges that occur in soul strand give candidates new perspectives on their chosen work, and help them begin thinking about steps they must take to build effective relationships with students, families, and colleagues.