Constantly Learning and Growing

This year our district has adopted new math programs at all levels. At the elementary level we have adopted Bridges, from The Math Learning Center. It is an inquiry based program, encouraging students to think deeply about mathematics, numbers and their relationships. We changed to this program from enVision, which teachers were constantly saying they disliked and wanted changed. Of course, the change is huge, and now teachers are struggling with time to plan lessons, and the lessons themselves which require facilitation of mathematical discussions and learning by investigation, rather than “I do, we do, you do”. Also, teachers are requesting more training, which can be helpful and yet, not what I really think they need.

In response to the cries for help and challenges we have put a couple of things into place. I have monthly meetings with “math leads” both K-2 and 3-5 from each site where we discussion implementation, assessment, lesson facilitation and other topics as they arise from teachers. We also have Lead In Napa in our district, an “in-house” professional learning program through which I am conducting monthly collaboration times with teachers from all sites on a rotating basis: K-2 and 3-5. So far we have had one 3-5 meeting which was very successful and have a K-2 meeting planned next week. We already have quite a few teachers signed up. It is exciting to see teachers coming together across the district to collaborate, share their experience and frustrations, and talk. The best thing is I’m hearing from teachers across the district that they are feeling heard.

The last thing I have been working on lately is getting out to sites to sit in on their grade level PLC collaboration time to answer questions, clarify expectations, and make face to face contact with teachers. This seems to be having the greatest impact. When some of these teachers start talking about how hard this is, they look at me, see me listening, and actually stop themselves a lot of time and begin to ask questions about how to make things work. I have offered to do model lessons and co-teaching with many of these groups, and have been taken up on the offer. Not only do I get to support teachers, I get to play math with kiddos. Best of both worlds.

It’s often difficult to work in a leadership position, but can be so rewarding.

This post is a part of Kathy Perret’s #EduCoach Blog Challenge. You can read more about it here.

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8 thoughts on “Constantly Learning and Growing

  1. Kenny says:

    I agree with the power of district-wide collaboration with teachers being so powerful. I often feel like my main charge as a coach is fostering teacher leadership, and these collaborations are one venue for that.

  2. Thank you for sharing a little bit about your journey! I, too, work in a district leadership position and find that balancing the requests from various teachers and sites is an exciting challenge! Thanks for participating in the #educoach challenge!

  3. Brett says:

    Getting invited to co-teach is great! It helps build relationships with teachers and students. When teachers know that you are willing to get in the room and “walk the walk”, they are much more likely to come back, especially when your enthusiasm is contagious (anyone that “plays math” has to be excited!). Keep up the good work!

    • Teresa Ryan says:

      Thanks Brett. Yes, I guess I am enthusiastic. I’m a full blown math nerd. It’s fun to work with kids that love math also, and to allow them to explore the exciting and fun parts.

  4. jgvadnais says:

    Love this: “The last thing I have been working on lately is getting out to sites to sit in on their grade level PLC collaboration time to answer questions, clarify expectations, and make face to face contact with teachers. This seems to be having the greatest impact”

    Teachers are grateful when someone in a leadership position truly listens. Nice Job!!!

  5. Teresa Ryan says:

    Thank you! This has been such a wonderful time. We can plan lessons together and collaborate on best practices.

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