Beaver Country Day School is seeking candidates for its teaching fellowship program to join our school community for the 2020-2021 academic year. This is a mentored position open to first-year or aspiring teachers. For those applicants enrolled in a graduate program who are seeking teacher licensure, Beaver’s fellowship program fulfills all credit hours while preparing apprentice teachers for careers in both independent and public schools.

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The BVR Teaching Fellowship: reflections from a former Fellow

In spring of 2017, Perry Eaton’s advisor at Tufts University put him in touch with Joe Christy at Beaver. “It was the beginning of a fruitful relationship, not only with a great educator but with a school unlike any other I’ve experienced,” Eaton said. Eaton was Beaver’s first teaching fellow, and he spent the year working in Beaver’s Global History Department. Below he shares some of his insights from that time. For more, you can also check out the three-part series he wrote for the BVR blog during his time as a BVR teaching fellow.

Joining the Beaver community for my student teaching practicum was enormously rewarding, to say the least. Upon my acceptance to Tufts’ MAT program, my goal was to teach at an independent school. Tufts was the only program that I looked at in Massachusetts that was open to this idea at the time. Below is a collection of thoughts and ideas about my student teaching year at Beaver.

First off, my student teaching experience at Beaver was unique in many ways in comparison to others in my Tufts cohort.

  • I was able to essentially design a curriculum for the class I taught, which is something most others in my cohort did not have. While I did not do as much teaching as others in my cohort, most of them were instructed to basically follow a textbook.  To me, my experience was the more valuable of the two options.
  • In addition, Beaver allowed me to substitute teach during my practicum year, which was a good opportunity and a solid way to get classroom experience with more straightforward pre-made plans to follow.
  • As a private school, there are many ways that Beaver operates that may be pretty foreign to an incoming teacher with no background. I attended a couple of private schools myself, so I had a bit of an understanding, but most graduate programs will not cover things like, for instance, how a Board of Trustees works. I met with various teams at Beaver, from marketing to admissions, in order to get a comprehensive idea of how independent schools work.
  • From the beginning of my time at Beaver, Yolanda introduced me to ample tech tools and I developed a much greater tech literacy as a result. This emphasis on technology helped to cultivate an iterative mindset in my practice.

Prior to starting my role, I participated in BVR’s new teacher training, which was really helpful and made me feel like I was a part of a cohort of new teachers at Beaver from the get-go. I was treated as such by them. This gave me more confidence and truly made me feel a part of the school rather than just a temporary resource.

The fall for me was really critical because it provided ample space to observe and ask questions before doing any teaching of my own. There were certain essential skills my Tufts coursework didn’t really cover that I learned at Beaver, including:

  • Lesson Planning
  • Organization and Time Management
  • Feedback and Grading Practices
  • Student Engagement
  • General Do’s and Don’ts (cold-calling, movement throughout the classroom, etc.)

In addition, early in the school year, I was given an assignment to shadow a student throughout an entire school day. I shadowed Brett Siegal ’20 when he was in 9th grade. I found this to be extremely insightful and made for a great part of the Beaver teaching fellow experience. 

In the winter, I co-taught with Randall Northrop and this was likely the most valuable and immensely helpful part of my fellowship. Read more about that experience here.

Perry will be a full-time Upper School English teacher at Beaver this fall.

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