This is the second story in a three-part series about teacher preparation and whether programs are doing enough to prepare new teachers to take over their own classrooms. The first part is here.
WASHINGTON—By October of his first year teaching, the reality of Amit Reddy’s new job was clear: He would not be getting much sleep, and any he did get would be interrupted by bad dreams and anxiety about his classroom.
“The whole night you’re thinking about the game,” Reddy said. “I’ve not had a good sleep since I started this job.”
Reddy is an eighth-grade science teacher at Alice Deal Middle School, which serves more than 1,300 students in grades six through eight in a stately building in the northwestern D.C. neighborhood of Tenleytown.
At 37, Reddy has an undergraduate degree in engineering and master’s degrees in literary nonfiction and public policy. He’s worked in advertising and studied in Australia and America. In 2014, he published a book about his 2006 journey around his home country of India on a motorcycle.
But none of those experiences truly prepared Reddy for the “exhaustion” of teaching, a job that keeps him busy for 16 to 17 hours “on a good day.”
Last summer, Reddy joined the nonprofit The New Teacher Project’s (TNTP) Teaching Fellows program, an alternative, faster route to the classroom after eight weeks of training in the summer. All fellows then receive year-long coaching during their first year and complete online classes to earn their teaching license. They also have the option to earn a master’s degree in education.