Extending My Thinking

This year has been very challenging in many ways. It was my first year as the K-5 Math Specialist for our district. After teaching HS math for 11 years, this was a definite change for me, and a wonderful way for me to extend my learning and teaching. Elementary education is a real specialty, and the teachers here are incredible. I am amazed at what they do every day, teaching several subjects, balancing large amounts of energy in small bodies with the emotions and needs of these young people, challenging them to be their best and loving them like crazy. I am blessed to be learning alongside these amazing teachers, and feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity.

The year began slowly, and I often wondered if I was up to the job if I couldn’t even figure out what to do and where to start. It has definitely picked up speed over the ensuing months, and I now feel like I am heading down a steep hill in a go cart with no brakes. There is so much going on, and I have built some strong relationships and am growing in so many ways. I have some ideas for what I would like to see accomplished next year in our math programs, and am working with our math committee on reviewing math resources for the classroom while working on a PL plan for our teachers that will create a strong, consistent, and ongoing learning experience for them. I am meeting next week with our Teaching and Learning Director and the Executive Director of Elementary Education to discuss priorities for elementary math education for next year. I am hoping that we can begin to solve some of the time considerations for PL for teachers without causing them more stress or pressure. I really want to find a way to support them and challenge them to discuss lessons and learning with each other. I know it has been very beneficial for me the past couple of year as I have become more connected to the MTBoS.

Part of my extension has included submitting proposals for CMC North in December and NCTM in April 2016 at the elementary level. I found myself wanting more in this area as I stretch my learning and understanding of these topics and teaching elementary level students. I know that researching and sharing my learning with other teachers is a large part of what helped me to grow as an educator at the secondary level, and I need to do the same for elementary. I will also be working in the classroom with teachers more regularity next year, something about which I am very excited. I’ve loved connecting with elementary teachers and coaches in the MTBoS and on twitter this year, and they have stretched me immensely. I am so grateful for the expertise that is out there and the willingness of educators to share their knowledge and experience. There is a twitter math coach chat that will be starting in June that will be an awesome experience I am sure. Once again I find myself hoping that I will have some expertise to share soon. I feel like I was just beginning to get somewhat competent at teaching HS, and now here I am in a whole new world.

Next year will bring new challenges, and I am looking forward to them with hope, and excited that I now have a foundation on which to build. The first year is always the hardest, and I am glad that this year happened, and am ready for the new challenges and learning experiences that are about to begin.