When I returned to teaching after 6 years of doing other things (story for another day), I got a job in my home district as a math specialist. I didn’t really know what that would entail, but it was math and it was a good job. Once I got into it, I loved it. I worked with small groups of children from every grade level, helping them catch up on their math skills. I was also starting to get the opportunity to pass on knowledge to the teachers, as I would attend trainings with the district math coordinator. When we moved to China in 2010, I started back in the classroom full time, and started moving into high school classes in 2012. I love the challenge of the upper level math, and now I have a unique perspective of seeing the links from Kindergarten all the way up to H.S. seniors.
Last year I started talking to my school about getting into a role of helping teachers. When we were going through our accreditation review, a theme I kept hearing in the math vertical team was that primary teachers had a desire for more training in teaching math. I felt like that was something I could do! I was able to take on 5 periods a week to work with the year 6/7 teachers to look at how we could transition better from primary to secondary. I have very much enjoyed my time in the primary lessons. Unfortunately I was only able to get into one a week per year 6 class, and sometimes that got canceled because of various events at school.
During a classroom visit, I watch the lesson and then rotate around the room seeing how students work. I also have brief chats with the teacher and if they have questions, I try to answer them. I have gone to their team meetings a few times and given them some ideas of how to teach some topics. When they were planning their introduction to Algebra I even gave a short demo lesson on how students should set up equations.
All of this has continued to increase my desire to help teachers become better teachers. I attended a training from Cambridge International Examinations and found out that they were recruiting for trainers in China. With the support of my school, I applied for and have been accepted into the process. I have a few more steps to go and I’ll be an official certified trainer. I am excited about the possibility of traveling around China to have an impact on more teachers.
In my next post I’ll share more about the process of applying and the doors that has opened for me.