I spent the last week working with several teachers and 1 principal learning and working on Best Practices in Math. This could have gone pretty badly, but let me tell you it was GREAT. I was pleasantly surprised. The work I did this week has truly made me a better teacher. I hope that the relaxation of summer does not dilute my intentions at this moment. But the best part of this past week and the reason I felt compelled to write was my grand realization I had. We have a lot of really good teachers in our district. In the seven years I have been teaching and attending district provided professional development, this is the first time I have felt this way. That is great for our district, but even better for our kids. I wish we could collectively build a superteam of teachers for our school. What a difference that would make. A group of adults focused and dedicated to the same kind of learning. Oh, the possibilities.
I have heard many people talk about document cameras. I always thought, “Yeah that’s nice, but I can do the same thing scanning documents with my SmartBoard.” Well I have spent this week in professional development learning about Best Practices in Mathematics. And finally I get it! I need (read need, not want) a document camera. Gone should be the days when we have students go up to the board and copy their work from their papers. What a waste of time, one. Two, you miss some of the learning in translation from paper to board. I get it now. Now hopefully I will get a document camera too.
I spent Monday and Tuesday working with teachers and coaches working on a pacing guide for our district. It was very difficult but interesting work. The new math standards will be a challenge to everyone, not just the students. We have to look at the way we teach math differently. Students are not prepared for this and it will be a challenge to get everyone to change their mindset and conceptual thinking. I think that is only good for all of us to get math back to the way it used to be, not just teaching kids to compute and nothing else. We will spend to more days to finish the pacing guide. Hopefully it will be published quickly enough for teachers to work this summer and be prepared for next year. New things to come.