Sara Thompson, Chandler, AZ, email@example.com
Who would have thought that the school year would wrap up with remote learning because of a pandemic!? Even though the onset of it all was a bit overwhelming and intimidating, I must admit that I came out on the other side of this 4th quarter stronger in many aspects, as did our entire math department. We improved our ability to troubleshoot on the spot, communicate virtually in multiple ways, teach/reach students across platforms we had never explored before, and Google anything and everything we had no clue how to do. Throughout my 21 years in the classroom, I had never been so uncomfortable and unfamiliar with what was being asked of me. (Maybe you can relate?) But I figured if I was feeling like a fish out of water, so too, were many of my colleagues.
All the teachers in our math department joined forces more than ever to support each other and each other’s students through remote learning. We had regularly-scheduled meetings to go over the upcoming week’s lessons, discuss student engagement strategies, share formative data on student work, recognize what is working and what is not, and celebrate our successes, no matter how small. We devised a calendar of concepts for the quarter and divided up the workload in creating lesson resources that were housed in shared drives. We helped each other troubleshoot the many glitches that can occur with technology, and we knew who to reach out to within our department, depending on what kind of help was needed. We simply made each other stronger by sharing our individual talents when it came to delivering instruction online.
If there is one key tip or strategy I would pass along to the next wave of teachers who might possibly embark on remote learning, it is this — COLLABORATE. You are not alone, even though it may feel that way as you sit down to teach from your home office. Know there is a slew of support out there for you on the other side of the laptop screen. Reach out to your regional contact at CPM. Reach out to your colleagues from your campus and district. Suggest a plan of action that could bring all those wheels in motion together on the same path. Then brainstorm how to move forward. A shared vision is an incredible thing in math education. You will become stronger for it and learn from it, both as an educator and as a person. The culminating beauty of it all is that your students will benefit the most from this empowered collaboration with others.