I’m spending the week in training for the CPM math curriculum this week. Our middle schools are piloting the program this year, and our high schools will be piloting the program next semester. The high schools are also piloting CME this semester. It’s a busy year for us. I’m attending the training so that I can help support the teachers this year as they work on changing teaching practices and focusing on the SMP. I personally like both programs for different reasons, and will be happy with either one at our high schools. I really hope our middle school teachers like CPM.
As I’m sitting through the training, listening to the facilitators discuss the program, the process for how to facilitate the group work, when to pull the whole class together for some direct teaching, and keeping it short and sweet, reading through the resources available to the teachers, and interacting with the teachers in the training, I’m reminded that this is just good teaching. Creating an environment of collaboration, inquiry, focused questioning, justification and explanation of the mathematics being used, and the thought processes students are using to solve problems, I’m thrilled. I’m also watching teachers struggle with the change in focus and teaching method and my notes to myself and my focus during the training is how I can support, encourage and engage teachers in the process. How can I help them to stay the course when group work isn’t going as smoothly or precisely as they are witnessing in the training? How can I help teachers to understand that this takes time, stamina, and a willingness to keep on when it gets tough and students are complaining about the teacher “not teaching”?
I know from years of facilitating this process in my own classroom that it is well worth the effort, struggle and frustration that will come with changing instruction, I just want to be a strong support for the teachers as they go through this process and be able to encourage them to keep going when the going gets tough.