14 June 2007

Cookie Cutters

The math and science cadre is done for the year. Our goal was to provide some intensive professional development for one teacher per grade level for every elementary. There were some bumps along the way, as there always are when flying a new program, but overall, participating teachers were happy.

One of the most interesting things for the other specialist and I was to read the evaluation forms. There were some good notes, but the funny parts were the ones which were contradictory. "Pacing was too fast." vs. "Enjoyed the pace of things." and "Felt unsure when we watched a high school movie." (referring to Hemo the Magnificent) vs. "I loved being able to use the film with my kids this year!" All of this individual feedback really enforces the notion that while teachers understand that their students aren't all from the same cookie cutter, they don't always recognize that neither are their peers. In the meantime, differentiating staff development is a real challenge. Somewhere along the way, we have to find something that helps everyone connect.

At this time, it is looking like the meetings will continue next year. I admit a bit of ambivalence about this. It's good stuff and most teachers are enthusiastic about it. However, the other specialist and I don't get contact with every teacher...and now that the shape of the coaching model will shift a bit, there will be more room for math and science talk throughout the day. We might be able to better support teachers with just after school offerings...but then, teachers aren't pressed from the same cutter. We'll have to find a happy medium.


Anonymous said...

Carlsbad? Are you from here? Very cool.
Thanks for stopping by!

Mimi said...

I enjoyed your blog and am inviting you to check mine out as well. I'm also a teacher...



Hugh O'Donnell said...

SG, Your insight into teaching teachers is right on. If we differentiate for kids, why would we not differentiate for teachers, especially if we're sincere about the outcomes of our professional development efforts?

I know I'm in the presence of an exceptional professional developer if they practice what they preach about effective classroom instruction in their sessions with teachers. (I've also spent a lot of hours developing a sore butt trying to listen to the ones who ram & cram it to staff, but would go nuts if staff did it to kids!)

The Science Goddess said...

Natalie---actually, I grew up in a small west Texas town, but my first gig teaching was at P.R. "Porky" Leyva JH in Carlsbad. When I was ready for a change, I headed here (11 years ago) and haven't looked back. :)

Mimi and Repairman---welcome to the edusphere! Best wishes on successful blogging. New voices are always welcome to join this conversation and I'm glad that you're here.

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Thanks, SG. Nice to be here.