Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Got Your PD Right Here!

I am receiving the best professional development I have ever experienced at school. I am "team teaching" a math class.

Math is definitely not my strength. I got through by following patterns. I am very good at identifying them. I am not good at being able to understand the "why" of math. Does it make you wonder why I was placed in a math class to team teach?

So, I find myself sitting in a class that I do not feel comfortable in. Not only am I unfamiliar with the objectives (even after reading/studying them over the summer) but with the vocabulary used. Students are expecting me to be able to help them identify why they don't "get" something.  How can this be great professional development for me if I am not comfortable?

I have become a student again. I am learning the math concepts and definitions with the students. I ask more clarifying questions than they do. I am remembering my student roots, learning in a classroom.

The first full week I taught the math lessons. I wanted to pull my own weight and show that I could do the job. After teaching a lesson my teaching partner broke the lesson down for me and we talked about what I could have done to make it better. For some veteran teachers this would be a problem, but not for me. I know I am in over my head and I am grateful to have an experienced teacher help me out.

Although the team teaching has been difficult and we have not yet found our comfort zone with the shared responsibilities I would still say this has been successful for me. I am learning math and how to be a better teacher.


Mr Webb and Room 8, Melville Intermediate said...

I think that team teacher is an invaluable way to learn techniques, refine your teaching or simply to recharge your energies. I take it, that you are able to return the favour in some ICT capacity for this teacher?

Wm Chamberlain said...

Myles, I have not yet. I have always found it a challenge to find creative ways to do integration with math (probably because I have taught it in a long time). Other than bloggging their reflections and the occasional web based games I don't have a whole lot of ideas.

Obviously I would love to record the lessons and put them on the blog but my co-teacher is self-conscious. I had to practically beg her to let me take the picture above.

Allie said...

What is the goal of team teaching? I find that interesting that they would put you in a math classroom. In a way that is really wonderful thought because you are learning new techniques and are remembering what it is truly like to learn in that kind of envoirnment. I think the concept of team teaching is really interesting! I haven't heard of it before I read this blog post!

Wm Chamberlain said...

Allie, that is a great question. The obvious answer is to get more help in the classroom and vary the expertise. There is a lot more that goes into team teaching though and we are still trying to find our way. :)

Kayla (Perkins) Beck said...

I have heard something like this said, "A great teacher is one who is always learning." I guess now you got a great chance to learn again! That is very helpful that there is another teacher in the class with you that is also a great help. As teachers, we will never be great at everything no matter how hard we try. This is why teaching is a team job, and it is not about one teacher being better than another at certain subjects. It is about helping one another reach what our best is as a person, even if we are not the "best" at everything. If we were the best at everything, where would our individualism in teaching be?

Anonymous said...

I think it is great that you not only know how to teach, but you know how to learn as well. Many professor's would be offended if they had to learn something new. I had never heard of team teaching until I read this, but I think it is a great idea! I can guarantee that many professors would succeed more often with teaching their students if they were aware of their flaws.
-Erin Tillman
EDM 310 University of South Alabama

Morgan Mohler said...

I am a student of Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. My name is Morgan Mohler, and my blog can be located at I think that is really great what you are doing. Sometimes it is hard to do things we are not 100% comfortable doing. Often times it is those moments when we are so unsure of ourselves that we are able to learn the most information. It is really inspiring to see what you are doing- someone so willing to openly discuss their self doubts and to try and tackle those doubts as well!

cassandra williams said...

I think that is a great professional development. You are developing, how to understand and learn with the students, especially in an area were you are not comfortable. How can we get better in an area, if we do not challenge ourselves? My name is Cassandra Williams. I am in Dr. Strange EDM310 Class. Thank you.
To learn more about me visit: Sandra Williams' EDM310 Class Blog