Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Maine

Prompt 5: Option A

31 Jan 2015 3:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Coaching is the key to overcoming obstacles. How could coaching be (or how is it) a positive force in your school's efforts to overcome obstacles? How could it be (or how is it) a positive force in your personal growth as a teacher?

Comments

  • 02 Feb 2015 6:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    I am fortunate to work with a group of teachers who thrive on collaborative work and study together. We have been working on our classroom discussions this year as a content team and have been visiting one another's classrooms using the Principles to Actions table on mathematical discourse. We have been sharing feedback on the visits with one another at our monthly content meetings. I think that this work could be taken one step further with the opportunity to have a highly experienced mathematics coach to work with. We do not have a formal mathematics coach in my school/district, we have to serve that function in small ways for one another as colleagues.....but, a year ago, I had the opportunity to work with a math coach and can see the potential for professional growth.

    I was fortunate to have a classroom visitor last year who was a mathematics coach in her prior work. She was observing my math classes for a book she is writing, but I took advantage of the opportunity to have her actually coach me, since I had never had the experience. The depth of our conversation and my own reflection on the lessons we discussed really stuck with me. I am a very experienced teacher and would value the opportunity to work with a mathematics coach. That one experience was enough to convince me of its value in the potential for my personal growth as a teacher. I finally had the opportunity to have someone who recognized what I was trying to do and had experience that I could trust in our discussions. The opportunity to have a real learning conversation is valuable for a teacher at any point in their career.
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    • 08 Feb 2015 7:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
      I enjoyed reading your post Shawn and agree that being coached is a great opportunity - for both the teacher and the coach. One of our math goals this year is to have all grade level math teachers be in each others' classrooms. The teachers have planned the lesson, decided how they want to work while in a classroom together (either 1 teach and 1 or 2 observe, or 2 co-teach and 3rd teacher take notes, or 1 main teacher and others can chime in as they want). There's been a brief discussion after the lesson and then the teachers move into one of the other classrooms and teach the lesson again. The whole experience was then discussed at the next content meeting. This has been met with mixed response - some didn't really see the purpose and others have loved it and taken advantage of being able to be in each others' classrooms more regularly.
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  • 01 Mar 2015 12:26 PM | Anonymous member
    In my school, time is not provided for collaborative work and having a math coach is not considered a budget priority. Personally, I feel that my teaching and my students' learning would most improve if time were built into the day for in-depth collaboration between math teachers. Two minute hallway conversations and 30 minute after school sessions to write assessments simply do not allow for discussions about how to teach for and assess student reasoning and understanding. Having a dedicated math coach in the building would go far as a substitute for collaborative work time (and in an ideal world both having both approaches would complement each other.) Have schools/teachers found any solutions to this problem other than the standard reply of teachers spending even more personal time in collaborative work?
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  • 13 Mar 2015 2:27 PM | Deleted user
    I think there is great benefit to being coached. I have the opportunity for feedback on my teaching and I also use it as a time to bounce ideas off of someone that has sat in my classroom. I know not everyone sees it this way. There are teachers that are more experienced than the administrator observing them and feel resentment towards them. I think there should be a culture in our school that welcomes outside perspectives, and most do, but there are some that don't and I would like to see that addressed. Some of our issues might be that these observations are tied to our reviews where some believe more experience equals more understanding of how it is in the “trenches”.
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  • 15 Mar 2015 3:31 PM | Anonymous member
    As the only middle school math teacher in a small rural school, there is no opportunity for a formal math coach. I would love one!! I used to teach in a bigger district, so I have maintained my 'math friends.' They are always ready to answer questions and make suggestions. Without a coach, I need to be creative and make a conscious effort to make connections with other professionals.

    Our Title I teacher has been a wonderful sounding board for me. Her good friend, a math teacher from New York came to visit our school. She spent a couple of hours in my classroom. What a wonderful opportunity. Her spring vacation is at a different time from ours, and she is visiting again at the end of this month. This time she will spend the day in my classroom and meet with our entire staff after school to share her expertise. I can't wait.

    I also rely on opportunities such as this book study and the Cross Discipline Literacy Network through the DOE to connect with other math teachers. ATOMIM has put me back into the math teacher loop so to speak. I am looking forward to the fall conference to connect and learn from others.
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  • 12 May 2015 9:02 PM | Deleted user
    I have rarely had the opportunity for coaching or assistance in math teaching in a one on one situation. When I had the opportunity for assistance through a professional development training, I found it very helpful. Many colleagues are not open to being coached per se. They seem to feel that they are being evaluated rather than helped to address student needs more effectively and in a more efficient manner. So, for a coach, there needs to be good communication about the purpose of any work with classroom teachers and personnel. I have gained much insight from state consultants who brought perspective to particular practices in classroom teaching procedures for mathematics and also for testing situations. They were able to make a case for implementing particular procedures and practices to impact student learning in many positive ways. So, a coach can have direct and positive impact on student experiences in the classroom.

    Though our school does employ a math coach, it is not clear what role is played to assist classroom teachers at this time. I have not had a meeting or any group session to discuss math teaching practices or any particular challenges or successes that I am having with teaching our math curriculum this year.
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