My time in NY, this trip, is fast coming to an end. I have just spent the last week teaching teachers various strategies that can be used in their classrooms. I decided not to chat about it on on Mele Cotte, since it was a portion of my trip that wasn’t food related. Well, candy/snacks were involved, but we won’t elaborate on the store bought stuff. Ha!
Anyway, it has been (oddly) fun getting back into the swing of things after a year of being out of the school system, as well as being seemingly unemployeed. How did this all happen? Well, first - I know people. LOL No, really, I met a teacher while in Utah, we chatted shop talk, and she suggested I offer classes to teachers in her area. And, so I began. Why not? Similar to the systems I have worked in Georgia, teachers all have to participate in professional development throughout the year, some mandatory and conducted within the individual schools, while some are offered by the area and conducted by a consultant. This is where I fit in.
The benefit of what I completed this week was that the teachers chose what classes take because something triggered their interest (besides the fact they have to meet X number of hours each year). So, as I did while I was in the my former system, I tried to make sure I included as many (hands-on) cross curricular examples of cross curricular strategies and ideas as possible, as well for all grades. Then, the teachers were able to walk away with "stuff"for immediately use upon returning to the classroom. All that really needed to be done was the “bump up” or “bump down” according to the grade taught and level of students involved.
As I tell participants, by no means am I an expert. No, no, no. But, I know what worked in my situations, with the many different demographics I have encountered. Sure, gurus like Reeves, Dufoor, Wormeli, Thomlinson, Wiliam offer wonderful information and insight into what needs to happen in the classroom, schools, and systems as a whole. But, in all honesty? When was the last time they taught in a classroom, as a staff member, among the new, raw issues that face not only our students, but the whole educational structure as a whole? Right? Right.
Anyway, I facilitated 5 courses geared toward secondary educators – Tiered instruction, Differentiated Instruction, Classroom Management, and Reading/Writing Strategies for Across the Curriculum. Some elementary teachers came as well, which wasn't a problem what-so-ever. I wish administrators could have been involved! But, the areas here are run much differently and I was intrigued by what I heard. Being in an area where unions drive many of the decisions/actions, education here is a whole new world to me. I had no idea that it was not the norm to take your students to lunch and eat in the cafeteria with the class, while monitoring. I had no idea that teachers had unassigned time, with which they could be out of the building and not have to “worry” about their students and what’s happening in the school, per say. I might have actually got some work done during the day if they had that in Atlanta. Ha!
Anyway, I enjoyed my classes, albeit they were all met with limited attendance. But, with comments I received on the evaluations, like
“This was the best class I have ever experienced!”
“When are you coming back?”
“I wish I was able to attend each one of your sessions.”
“This stuff was actually useful; I can make this work for my students.”
I am hopeful I will be able to get future gigs. Or, at least find a job in the district up here, which is what I am about to work on right now. Off to complete my OLAS application! Wish me luck!