A vital part of the two-year teacher residency experience is co-teaching in a public school throughout the fall and winter. For this, we search for school contexts that differ from Arbor School in important ways. For some apprentices, this has meant co-teaching in dual language classrooms, thus helping build teaching practices in Spanish and English. For others, it means teaching at another age group. For example, Elizabeth has moved from teaching K/1st grade at Arbor to teaching 5th grade at nearby Stafford Primary School. Danielle has gotten the chance to move from her K/1st grade at Arbor to a Portland Public School's Harrison Park and a 3rd grade classroom that includes students from many cultural and linguistic backgrounds, including Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Romanian, Ukranian, and Vietnamese.
Across these experiences, all apprentices experience a co-teaching model as they move toward more responsibility in their public school classrooms. This might mean observing their co-teaching mentor lead the lesson while assisting individuals or small groups, teaching in parallel groups, or team-teaching with both teachers actively involved in the lesson at hand. During the winter term, apprentices spend a full four weeks in their public school context, designing, facilitating and formally assessing a unit in literacy, mathematics or science.
After this winter experience, apprentices return to Arbor to take full responsibility for their classrooms for the month of April. The public school teaching intensive also serves to highlight parts of apprentices' teaching practice that need more focus during the spring term. This they can do with the coaching and support of their Arbor mentors throughout the spring term. Moving between school contexts during this second year benefits both schools as apprentices bring new questions, methods, and approaches from one classroom to the other.