From Psychology to Education: A Teacher Residency Story

From Psychology to Education: A Teacher Residency Story

KIPP SoCal teacher resident Jarvis Douglas (left) with his KIPP Empower Academy teacher mentor Thomas Marren (right).

Jarvis Douglas has always enjoyed helping others, so when it came time to declare his major at Cal Poly Humboldt, he immediately gravitated toward Psychology. However, when he graduated, he was still determining which career path to take and decided to venture into substitute teaching and move to Southern California. 

To begin his journey in education, Douglas joined Scoot Education, an educational staffing agency specializing in placing teachers in full-time and substitute teaching positions. While there, the agency assigned him to a KIPP SoCal public school, where he immediately felt a deep sense of belonging and connection to the school community. 

Even though he was new to substitute teaching, Douglas was quickly drawn to the idea of becoming a full-time teacher. So he was thrilled when he learned about the KIPP SoCal Teacher Residency Program from teacher residents who were in the program at the time. 

The program, offered in partnership with the Alder Graduate School of Education, appealed to Douglas because it would let him earn his teaching credential and master’s degree and gain practical, hands-on classroom experience in just one year. The program would also include an apprenticeship that pairs him with a seasoned teacher mentor to help him develop and grow his teaching and leadership skills. 

After learning more about the robust program and reflecting on his journey in education thus far, Douglas eagerly joined the 2022-23 teacher residency cohort and is currently completing his residency at KIPP Empower Academy (KEA) in South Los Angeles. Despite being miles from Northern California, KEA welcomed him with open arms and made him feel right at home, especially his teacher mentor, Thomas Marren. 

Marren, a third-grade math teacher with 14 years of teaching experience, has played a significant role in helping him develop his identity as a teacher. From classroom management skills to internalizing lesson plans, Douglas is grateful for the guidance and support Marren has given him throughout this experience.

“Having a mentor that is able to give you feedback versus just getting feedback on your coursework is invaluable because you can immediately use that feedback the next time you return to the classroom,” said Douglas. 

A typical week for Douglas includes four days dedicated to KEA and one day devoted to attending a regional seminar with his cohort. The seminar is an opportunity for the cohort to collectively reflect on how educational theory and research directly connect with their experiences in the classroom. Because of the program’s fast-paced structure, Douglas admits he frequently leans on his cohort for motivation and advises future residents to do the same.  

”If you’re going to make an effort to join, you should connect with others in your cohort,” he said. “Don’t feel like you’re in this alone. Everyone is going through the same thing as you are.” 

Once he completes the program in June, Douglas plans on continuing his teaching journey as an elementary school teacher. He hopes to become a transformational educator who inspires, learns, and grows alongside his students. 

Learn more about our Teacher Residency Program