There were a ton of great ideas, discussions and quotes at CMC North last weekend.
However I’m going to focus on one quote that I tweeted out regarding teachers working with one another:
— Brandon Dorman (@dormanmath) December 13, 2015
A large part of my work last year in Fresno Unified was working with teachers to take and upload videos of themselves for the Teaching Channel’s Teach Teams platform (I’m even on video talking about it). We did some good work and were getting there by the time I left – it takes time to develop trust, technical skill, and the desire to do so. Technical problems are probably the biggest issue – while cell phones are the easiest medium, it’s also hard to get
While blanket statements are popular at conferences (ie Worksheets/homework/textbooks are stupid), I think there is a lot of truth in this statement but shouldn’t be directed at individual teachers per se but at a system. In the schools I worked at, those of us on a team often had the same prep periods. Many teachers are unsure the purpose of such a visit as well. The question should be begged – if you aren’t doing anything, “interesting” that day, what are your students seeing too?
I feel a better conversation is more vertical articulation. Although this happens occasionally, it is too easy for the upper division teachers blaming the lower for not preparing students. What Fresno Unified was starting to do and all districts should, is teaching middle school teachers the high school standards (the actual MATH, not just the methods). This is a positive step in the right direction, as well as systemic time set aside for learning, collaboration and planning every couple of weeks with colleagues from different schools.
I started writing a lot more about curriculum mapping to facilitate this etc, but had to stop and keep it focused on the topic at hand. Definitely lots to chew on about what makes a professional educator from this weekend!