Question Detail

What are some ways to support/encourage teachers to keep moving forward in their practice?

Feb 6, 2014 6:01am

Specifically-those seasoned teachers for whom CCSS & increasing rigor in the classroom seems to be difficult ... those who find it difficult to plan more thoroughly in order to increase rigor, differentiate instruction, engage and challenge their students.

  • Coaching


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    • Feb 9, 2014 7:54am

      To support and encourage teachers, have the teachers plan presentations on those very topics you mentioned. Have a teacher make a presentation on planning, have a teacher make a presentation on differentiating, and have a teacher make a presentation on engagement. When they work on areas themselves, it will prove immensely invaluable.

      It is similar to having students make their own test questions. It forces them to think critically about the content and forces themselves to recognize how much they truly understand.

      • Feb 10, 2014 9:10am

        I think that ongoing relevant professional development is key. This week and last we have had grade-level observation days for each grade level in math and literacy. The purpose is for teachers to learn from each other in our building. The literacy coach and I worked together in setting up days for teachers to observe grades above and below their own. Our specific purpose was the components for workshop and the teachers were given an organizer to take notes about what they saw for each piece of the workshop configuration. We then debrief with teachers, allowing them time to reflect on action steps they will take. I also set up an online discussion for teachers to talk back and forth with each other to discuss the things they saw and would like to implement in their own classrooms. I told them to focus on one thing they would like to try and come up with a plan and timeline for implementation. This is one of the most popular things we do with teachers. They love getting in other rooms and seeing what their peers are doing. It is also a great way to highlight teachers that are successful at teaching math. Because they are viewing teacher s in our own building and students they have had or will have in the future, it eliminates some barriers and empowers them to try new strategies because they have seen it be successful for our kids…in our building.
        I also agree that modeling is very powerful, but find that with many teachers, ongoing planning sessions are more powerful. Those teachers that are already strong instructionally, but need help with a specific series of lessons or scaffolding…or coming up with a rubric… or setting up workshop. Planning sessions are also very helpful for teachers who do not carry on the learning once you have left the room. I can model all day long, but if there is no transfer, the kids are not benefiting from my time. This adds an accountability piece without sacrificing the teacher-coach relationship. I ask them to bring student work or lesson plans from the week before and we go from there.

        • Feb 9, 2014 5:24am

          I am not a coach but I do work with student teachers and their master teachers. Many seasoned teachers do not feel that the CC is developmentally appropriate for many children. It is very difficult to go against years of training and conditioning and teach in a way that you do not agree with. Therefore, I would first be very understanding of these teachers' feelings and their years of experience and success. Just validating that their experience and training is valuable and will still be an important factor in the classroom can help these teachers want to push forward. Giving these teachers resources and "asking" them if they would like you to model a lesson could certainly help. Pointing out to them what they are doing that is "right" and how they can just add to this can also push them in the right direction. I have talked with many teachers who feel they are supposed to throw all of their knowledge and experience out the window and now just make it harder for their students. Of course, this isn't true but we need to make sure that these "more seasoned" teachers feel that what they have done in the past has been good work. I think also that it's good just to give these teachers a chance to vent and an opportunity to share their feelings. Most of the teachers that I work with are coming around to CC, not necessarily because they like it or agree with it, but because they want to give their students all that they can.

          • Feb 10, 2014 5:20am

            Thanks, Katie- yes I have been in her classroom to model and have worked with her in setting up some reading stations. We have had several conference/coaching sessions. But when I follow up in her classroom, I find her going back to her "comfortable" ways. I have modeled and co-taught with her as well. I shall "keep plugging away" because I believe that she wants to increase the rigor but that's not her comfort zone.

            Cheryl-During our last coaching conversation, I did exactly as you suggested-we looked over her plans and "tweaked" to include higher order questions and added somethings to help differentiate her reading centers. I will be following up this week.
            And you are absolutely right, many teachers do not think that some of the CCSS are developmentally appropriate.

            Eric-an excellent idea, we all know how much we learn when we have to teach it.

            • Feb 10, 2014 9:34am

              Catherine-it is very true -the planning piece. And we have also done the vertical team observations (in Dec and scheduled again in Mar) And most of the teachers had similar comments about seeing what others are doing.
              I was in this teacher's room again this morning and her centers were a bit more rigorous-again building on what she was using so I will definitely continue to work WITH her on the planning. We do use backward design planning