TNTP Teaching Fellows logo
Headshot of Troy Smith

Troy Smith

Indianapolis Teaching Fellows

Elementary, 5-6

Why did you become a teacher?

I became a teacher because I enjoy learning and imparting that knowledge to others.

Why did you choose to apply for Indianapolis Teaching Fellows?

I applied for Indianapolis Teaching Fellows (ITF) because I felt that the vision was most closely aligned to my values and convictions. I knew the program was the right path for me when I read the vision and purpose statement during the application process.

What was your pre-service training experience like, and how did it prepare you for the classroom?

It was a tremendous eye-opener. It was a plethora of information coming at a rapid pace. Even though the initial days were overwhelming, the information was tremendously valuable. I entered the classroom feeling sufficiently equipped to build classroom culture and deliver equitable instruction to my scholars.

What were your first and second years in the classroom like?

They were challenging, yet productive. I was a founding staff member at a takeover school that had received a failing score for the previous five years. Resetting the culture was a substantial and monumental task. This task truly stretched each of the staff members in the building.

Why do you think it is important to teach right now?

I believe that it is important to teach right now because equitable education is under attack. Unfortunately, there are individuals in this country who still do not want Black and Brown communities to receive the tools needed to be successful in their lives. We need willing watchmen on the walls of education in our underserved communities.

Why is a program like the Black Educator Excellence Cohort (BEEC) important for Black teachers?

The BEEC program is important for Black educators because it provides a support system that is both responsive and relevant. It creates a space for Black educators to discuss and deliberate matters that are contextually significant to our community.

What impact have you seen the BEEC have on Fellows?

The BEEC has been extremely impactful for our Fellows. It gives a communal outlet that may not be provided at their school. Lasting relationships that extend beyond the classroom and building are forged because of BEEC.