Teacher Prep & Planning Before Classes Start

Met with my CT (Coordinating Teacher aka Master Teacher) and supervisor (from my credential program) yesterday for a kickoff meeting.  Nothing spectacular but it was nice to meet my CT and get a feel for the dept.   My primary placement for student teaching will be Math Analysis (similar to precalc) and my secondary will be Algebra II.  There’s significant overlap between the 2nd semester of Math Analysis and Algebra 2 from what I could see; which my CT confirmed.

Spent about five hours at my placement today observing and helping with aspects of teacher prep & planning before school officially starts on Monday, 8/23/10: setting up classroom chairs/tables, noting prior year grades for two sections, looking for textbook deliveries in the office, offering to help in any way, and observing the math dept chair (a CT / master teacher) and my CT discuss the first month’s curriculum for Math Analysis.  Overall there seemed like too much to do and on top of that the approach was very scattered / disorganized from a process standpoint.  I was advised that it would be this way though.

My CT and the math chair were very collaborative and tried to sync up on a common instructional schedule since there is a school wide initiative called “Focus on Learning” that emphasizes collaboration, common schedules, formative assessment and other items TBD.  It was clear they cared deeply about their roles as: teacher, coworker, supervisor / supervisee, etc.  While they have very different teaching and planning styles, they worked at how to maintain their style and still find common ground.  My CT likes to plan one day at a time since prior experience showed reality never matched plans and the other (math chair) likes to plan in one month chunks then create detailed agendas to distribute to students listing what is covered which day along with associated homework assignments; they also mentioned another teacher who plans the entire year out and pretty much stays on plan.  The variety of styles, methodologies, strategies, etc is overwhelming and difficult to absorb right away.

I continue to be amazed at how inefficient the educational system seems, across the board, based on what: I observed today, I’ve witnessed my wife go through for the past 6 or so years as a HS math teacher herself, I observed and experienced while volunteering at a local charter HS for disadvantaged students, and I’ve read online and in other sources.  Why this continues to be the case is not clear since it burdens teachers with overhead tasks that take them away from teaching, learning, counseling, reflecting, etc with students.  Sure seems like some common technological tools would free teachers up for more student-centered activities.

Guess I have a lot more to learn about what teaching is all about…

About Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher

Independent consultant and junior college adjunct instructor. Former secondary math teacher who taught math intervention, algebra 1, geometry, accelerated algebra 2, precalculus, honors precalculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Statistics. Prior to teaching, I spent 25 years in high tech in engineering, marketing, sales and business development roles in the satellite communications, GPS, semiconductor, and wireless industries. I am awed by the potential in our nation's youth and I hope to instill in them the passion to improve our world at local, state, national, and global levels.
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