Sunday, March 28, 2010

Resource Teacher Meeting

Have you ever sat in a professional development session when you've thought-- This is a total waste of my time? This doesn't come close to meeting my needs for my content area? I know if you ask any teacher, most will give a resounding, "Yes!" to this question. I shutter, as a coach, to think that anyone feels this way, particularly anyone in my building. But, nevertheless, I know it happens, at least on occasion.

Many of our Professional Development opportunities at Chets are tailored to meet the specific needs of a grade level or content area. We have daily common planning time, weekly Teacher Meetings, and TDE days (Teacher Duty Elsewhere) where we offer relevant grade level / content area professional development to our classroom teachers.

In addition, there are times when it is necessary for the whole school to come together to learn and grow as a school community. Bi-monthly Early Release sessions and monthly Book of the Month are two such sessions. Most of the time, these sessions focus on data or reading which can be generalized across grade levels and content areas. However, often this year, I've wondered if our Resource (Art, Music, Physical Education, Media, and Character Education) teachers feel like they are getting useful training. Unlike classroom teachers, they don't get common planning time or weekly Teacher Meetings. They only receive the PD offered to the whole school, and unless we cover a topic they can adapt to their content area, I'm quite certain they don't get what they need.

We have a talented group of resource teachers who take charge of their own learning and seek opportunities outside our building, but it still left me wondering what I, as the Instructional Coach of the school, could do to help support their learning. I don't know much about their content areas, so my thoughts kept coming back to what I do know-standards and classroom instruction. Just like classroom teachers, they too have state standards designed to drive their instruction, but quite frankly, I had no idea if they were using them with great expertise, or not at all. I had no idea if everyone even knew how to access them on the state website, or whether they knew that all the state standards were being rewritten. I had no idea if they created and followed yearly pacing guides to be sure all content was covered, or not.

So, our first Resource Teacher Meeting was born. I began with a quick response sheet that would allow the Resource Teachers to reflect on their practice and share information with me about where they were on the journey of standards based education. I asked, "How often do you see each classroom of students?" "How do you plan for your lessons?" "How do you pace your content throughout the year?" "Which standards do you cover at each grade level?" "Are you able, given the time you have each student, to cover all of the standards?" The conversation was enlightening, and I now more fully understand why each resource teacher feels an urgency to meet with students as often as they can.
Our session lasted about 75 minutes and we discussed Florida's New Generation Standards and implications to their lesson planning and delivery; We talked about yearly pacing guides and how they might create one; We looked at the Standards/Curriculum/Instruction/Assessment Alignment and I shared the Workshop Model with them. Then, we reflected together.

I feel good about our session together. I want them to know that I value their craft and care about their learning. I have no idea how I'll continue to offer them support, but I know that I want to try.

1 comment:

Dee Dee Tamburrino said...

The first-ever Resource Teacher Meeting was a great way to start!! Thanks for thinking of us.!!