Math Coach Update: Year 3

It’s been a few months now since my last post, and to be completely honest I was a bit overwhelmed and burnt out.  Being a Math Coach in one elementary school is fun and rewarding, but it can be exhausting as well, so my hat’s off to those of you who have more than one school to attend to because I cannot fathom it!

I thought that I would take an opportunity to update you all on my journey as a Math coach now that year 3 has ended and I have a chance to sit back and reflect on what went right and what didn’t….

THE GOOD:

  • I am now deeply immersed in the 3-5 standards, i know them pretty much backwards and forwards and I am able to help my 3-5 teachers gain a better understanding of them when we plan together.
  • Teachers are way more open to me observing their math lessons than they were my first year. (that year I actually had a teacher tell me not to bother stopping by)
  • I have so many teachers willing to ask for help in designing lessons, finding fun games, and in trying to understand their students’ thinking.
  • I will be working with 2nd grade this year as well as my 3-5 classes.  (based on my schedule and the way the Math Lab works, I don’t spend as much time with K-1 as believe I should)
  • I have opened my eyes to social media and have gained so much more knowledge form my colleagues around the world from the likes of Marilyn Burns, Dan Meyers, Andrew Stadel, Joe Schwartz, Brian Aspinall, and to my friends Graham Fletcher and Brian Lack who got me started on my journey. (I strongly suggest you check out their twitter feeds)
  • Number talks has been infused into Math lesson almost every day!
  • My principal is open to my ideas and this past year I was on a schedule that allowed me to work with K-2 if only every three weeks (working on tweaking this idea…)
  • I believe that the teachers who have been coming to the Math Lab to learn with the students understand the importance of using manipulatives, math journals, and allowing students to “struggle” (still a work in progress)

THE BAD:

  • No matter how hard I pushed this year I still have teachers using timed tests for fact fluency with rewards (see post by Graham Fletcher: Multiplication Sundae)
  • Many times I have been asked if what I model in the Math Lab is being implemented in the classrooms and I don’t have an answer….I am not able to observe as often as I would like BUT this is also a work in progress!
  • The pacing guide set out by the state causes some teachers to panic and “force feed” the students, which of course is not the way to get the students to have a conceptual understanding of the standard
  • Teachers not giving homework that allows the students to think and practice the concepts that are being taught in class
  • Many teachers are still teaching using the model “I do, We do, You do” and its frustrating to see students struggle
  • I still have teachers who don’t believe in small groups for math and teacher every day in a lecture style
  • As I have mentioned before, almost all of my time is spent with 3-5 trying to numeracy issues that could’ve been caught in K-1 where the foundational skills are taught, and this is something that I need to remedy
  • I feel as though I am not and expert yet in my field and it can be frustrating when I see students who struggle

THE UGLY:

  • I have a teacher who begins every new concept with a video, and her every day lessons are on power point
  • There are plenty of days when I ask myself if I am making a difference
  • Too many students need foundational skills in numeracy, but how can we remedy this?
  • Getting some teachers to collaborate is a battle
  • I had a teacher who complained all year that she didn’t have the mainpulatives to allow the students to work with, and at the end of the year when she moved classrooms we found it all…

Thank you to all of you who keep up with my blog, and for sharing your ideas with us all….

Jason

 

One thought on “Math Coach Update: Year 3

  1. Thank you for your reflections. I just finished year 2 as a math coach and I found many of your insights to be similar to my situation as well.

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