Last April, a group of colleagues and I applied to the New York Teacher Leadership Summit (powered by Teach to Lead). It was billed as an opportunity to:
- Develop the skills to design and advocate for a teacher-led initiative
- Network and build relationships with critical national thought partners
- Connect with teacher leaders and administrators from across the NY Metro region
Driven by our love for our south Bronx public middle and high school students, we aspired to improve our practice. To do so, we wanted more professional learning opportunities and a structure to help us share what we learned with each other. We submitted a proposal that would allow us to do just that. Our proposal was one of twenty selected from across New York State, and we were excited to join other teams working to create opportunities for teacher-led learning and leadership at their schools, in their districts, or across the state.
Last Wednesday morning, before the school doors opened for our middle and high school students, Mr. David, our principal at Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists in New York City, announced over the loudspeaker that we’d have a short faculty meeting in the library. A few of my colleagues and I had already gathered in a classroom, hugging one another, checking in, and reflecting on the results of the previous night’s election.
We weren’t sure how we’d talk to our students about the results and were seeking ideas from one another. When our principal’s announcement came over the loudspeaker, I was relieved. I wanted to come together with my peers to process and talk about what we’d just experienced as a nation.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally featured on Geneviève DeBose’s blog, Back To The Point, on September 6, 2016.
Today was technically the first day of my 13th year as a middle school teacher. I use the word technically because no students were at school today, but our hallways and classrooms were filled with colleagues buzzing about getting ready for the arrival of our scholar activists. It felt really good to be back.
Usually I end the summer reluctantly. Of course I’m happy to return to school, but who doesn’t want just one more week of summer? Strangely, this year feels different. I was ready to come back. Looking forward to it, actually. I can’t pinpoint exactly why. Regardless, it feels good to want to return to school, to want to see my colleagues, to want to meet my kiddos.
As a teacher, I’m always reflecting on my practice and working to learn and improve. This year, as a Teaching Channel Laureate, my Getting Better Together focus is all about meeting the needs of the diverse learners in my classes. There are a million ways to support students in our classrooms and my colleagues and I have tried a variety of strategies this year to help all of our kids grow. With these new videos, you’ll get a chance to see us in action, try out one of our strategies (should you choose!), and even give us direct feedback on our teaching.
This is part of Geneviève DeBose’s Getting Better Together work. Geneviève and all the Teaching Channel Laureates are going public with their practice and seeking support in getting better from colleagues and the Tch community.
What happens when a group of educators collaborate to meet the diverse needs of their students? A lot of reflection, dialogue, sharing, and learning!
In November I kicked off my Getting Better Together focus of meeting the needs of diverse learners. My team and I made a number of shifts to our process and practice and I’ve shared ten of them below. As I thought through everything we’ve done, I found that our work seems to fall into three main categories — Data and Information, People Power, and Curriculum and Assignments.
One of the things I love most about being a teacher is how intellectually stimulating my job is. What makes it so stimulating — and challenging! — is the range of diverse students I have in each of my classes every day.
How do I support A. to meet seventh grade standards when she’s reading at a second grade level? How do I ensure that O., who has scored far above grade level on numerous assessments, is challenged and engaged at his level? What will help B. orally share her ideas in class more often? How do I ensure that J. has the language supports he needs to grow as a writer in English, his second language? How do I best meet students where they are?
This is the first in Geneviève DeBose’s Getting Better Together series, Meeting Students Where They Are. Geneviève and all the Teaching Channel Laureates are going public with their practice and seeking support in getting better from colleagues and the Tch community.
Do you provide unique seating for students who may need something other than that hard chair in which to learn? Do you gather around the table with colleagues to look closely at every student’s IEP, ask questions, and share strategies so you can best meet each student’s needs? Do you differentiate worksheets so that some have sentence starters and word banks for the students who may need them? Read more