Frequently Asked Questions

BEING A BETA

What is Blue Engine?

Blue Engine is an education nonprofit based in New York City. Our mission is to implement the team teaching model, bringing together teams of educators in a single classroom to create a more engaging and personalized educational experience for 8th, 9th and 10th grade Algebra and English/Language Arts students across the city.

What is a BETA?team-teaching-icon

BETA stands for Blue Engine Teaching Apprentice. As a Teaching Apprentice, you’ll work with two other BETAs and one lead teacher to form one team. The BETA experience includes exposure to various instructional models (small group instruction, individual goal setting conferences, etc.); relationship-building with students and families in service of academics; and learning from coaches, teachers and peers to build skill in your craft. BETAs also have the opportunity (but are not required) to take on more teaching responsibility as it aligns to their professional goals.

What is a TC?

TC stands for Team Coordinator. TCs manage a team of BETAs and can choose to enroll in the Relay Graduate School of Education, a teacher residency program in partnership with Blue Engine, to become a certified, full-time teacher. After completing one year of service, a limited number of BETAs will have the opportunity to apply and serve a second year as TCs.

Who should apply to become a BETA?

The BETA experience is great for both individuals who are looking for an entry point into the teaching profession, as well as those who want to more broadly learn about teaching, different educational models, the public school system and student experiences.

We look for individuals with a desire to learn and grow within a team, who believe that the current educational system and structures contribute to vast amounts of untapped student potential, and are excited to reimagine what teaching looks like through the team teaching approach.

What is the time commitment?

The apprenticeship is a one- to two-year commitment as a BETA and AmeriCorps member. Training begins in early August and service continues through June of the following year. During the school year, BETAs work in teams with a certified  teacher from the start of the school day to the conclusion of any after-school responsibilities and/or commitments. Occasional weekend and service day commitments are required and will be shared well in advance.

Which subjects would I be teaching?

Blue Engine teams focus on Algebra and English/Language Arts in 8th, 9th and 10th grades. These are gateway subjects (aka, subjects that when mastered can set up students to be successful throughout their academic careers) during critical years of a student’s educational experience. Please note that Blue Engine actively recruits students from all academic backgrounds, not just those with advanced Math or English skills.

What is the compensation?

In partnership with AmeriCorps, BETAs receive a living stipend of  $14,400 (or $654.55 bi-weekly). BETAs also receive an education award of $5,815 (upon successful completion as a full-time member of the program) that can be used towards existing loans or the cost of future higher education after the year has been successfully completed. Additionally, BETAs are eligible to apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and are provided an unlimited Metrocard for public transportation use (subways, buses).

Where do BETAs live in the city?

BETAs live in neighborhoods in or near the schools in which they teach. There are no specific housing requirements, as there are BETAs who select other options, such as commuting from home within New York/New Jersey, live with non-BETAs, etc.

Planning and being conscious of your individual budgeting needs is important and different people have come up with different systems. If a prospective BETA is particularly concerned about this, Blue Engine is happy to put them in touch with a current BETA to discuss further.

After selected applicants accept their offers, Blue Engine provides helpful information about navigating the apartment searching process. We also facilitate social media groups that help connect BETAs who are looking for roommates to each other.

What is BETA training like?

Summer training begins in early August. During training, BETAs will learn about the purpose of their work in classrooms and how relationships are the cornerstone to every facet of their work; the history of education in historically oppressed communities and how they impact the current classroom contexts; foundational skills to engage students in rigorous content that builds conceptual understanding and positions students as competent sense-makers. BETAs also meet with their teams and learn how to make teams effective in the classrooms, as well as hone in on their individual roles on a team. There are also training sessions dedicated to learning about mindsets that are critical when developing culturally responsive pedagogy.

What does a typical day in the classroom look like?

Every classroom can look different depending on school placement, subject area and the certified teacher. BETAs arrive at their schools at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the day. BETAs most often share material preparation and creation, and frequently take papers home to grade. At the end of the teaching day, they provide after-school tutoring, hold meetings and complete grading or planning, as needed. BETAs have the opportunity to take on more responsibility as it aligns to their professional goals (i.e. teach a whole class, create lesson plans, etc.) as the year progresses.

Additionally, BETAs may need to participate in school events (parent/teacher conferences, celebrations, etc.) that may take place after school. Parent phone calls are made in the evening if parents work during the day.

Is there an option to become a certified teacher through the BETA experience?

During the optional second year of the Teaching Apprenticeship, BETAs can choose to participate in Blue Engine’s residency program through Relay Graduate School of Education. BETAs are paid the whole time. Once certified, BETAs often enter lead teacher positions at the schools they served as BETAs, but are also eligible to work anywhere in New York State and have the option to explore reciprocity in other states.

The cost is around $5,000 out of pocket (it is the responsibility of the enrolled TC to cover these expenses). The AmeriCorps education award can be used to cover this cost.

APPLYING & INTERVIEWING

Does Blue Engine accept applications after August 1?

BETAs accepted into the Teaching Apprenticeship program after August 1st are taken on a case-by-case basis. We aim to have all BETAs selected by the end of June.

How do I apply to become a BETA?

The BETA application is a two-part process: an initial online application requests basic information like your name, contact information, undergraduate degree and GPA. We will then review all applications and invite successful first-round applicants to attend a full-day group interview at our headquarters in NYC. The full-day group interview will include group activities and an in-person interview with a Blue Engine staff member.

When can I apply?

Applications are typically open in September of the preceding year. There are numerous rounds of applications, and applicants are accepted on a rolling basis.

Have other questions? Email recruitment@blueengine.org.