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Teamwork Tuesday

Today was a great day. In fact, it was one of those where I really wasn’t sure where the day was going to end up when I first arrived at work. Things were a bit hectic this morning as I am still overcoming illness and catching up from being gone for two days while at training. 

In Econ I jumped right in. I think this helped quite a bit for my self esteem and generally getting the day started on the right foot. It also helped that prior to this, my student teacher and I worked at some lessons for not only today but also for the coming weeks. This made me feel very productive. Lesson to be learned here: collaboration is key. We are far more effective as teachers and human beings in general when we work together. 

In the sheltered math course we spent a great deal of time working one on one with students to help them through identifying the slope and y-intercept to writing the equation of a line. This has been very difficult for some of my students who have limited educational backgrounds. However, having 4 people in the room is certainly powerful. One thing that I can see from the student I worked with today was that she will need quite a bit more exposure to a multitude of math skills before she is able to fully grasp what we are working on. This is difficult to watch from my perspective and probably agonizing for her. She is confusing quite a bit of the material, but we just don’t have the courses necessary for her. I almost feel like I want to start her with Khan Academy working on some of the lower level skills like number sense and spatial reasoning. She is very bright and will get there, eventually. The issue isn’t her. The issue is not being able to start her where she needs to be. In college, if you need prerequisite courses in math or English, they offer them. I don’t see why we cannot do the same. 

In EL200 we had a blast today. My students are doing very well at working on their presentations and Ms. J (my student teacher) and I learned quite a bit from working with the small groups as they conducted research and created presentations. We can see that we have a long road ahead. Some of the students didn’t even know how to create a slideshow. Others struggled with writing the appropriate information in. I am trying to brainstorm ways to make this easier for them and simpler in terms of teaching. Analysis is the name of the game. I have to truly break down the information into its component parts to determine what information goes where. Then I have to break down the components of the presentation piece. Perhaps I should reverse those two agenda items. Maybe if the students knew what they were going to teach it would have been easier for us to determine what items end up on a slide. That seems like such an obvious thing as I reflect, but it mustn’t be that obvious as 3 teachers and a student teacher overlooked that part of the process when planning. 

I think my biggest lesson of today is that we truly need more collaboration in our field. I’m not talking about more meetings. I’m talking about true planning and working together. Sure it takes relationship building. But I think that it really takes lesson planning from scratch, the more I think about it. I have had far better lessons and teaching days when myself and the cooperating teacher worked together from an almost blank slate. When a plan is already laid out and ready to go, there isn’t much that can be added, taken away, or substituted. 

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