S.T.A.T. Teacher, Mays Chapel Elementary School
As a teacher in a lighthouse school, change is going to be a way of life. The old tendency to cling to the past and what’s been done before are no longer an option for us, as the future is walking through our classroom doors every day. The changes that we are working so hard to implement are all for the benefit of our students in order to prepare them for the future.
As a lighthouse STAT teacher, I see my role as helping teachers to face these changes and to find new a creative ways to meet the needs of our students in a digitally enhanced learning environment.
My number one goal as the staff of the new Mays Chapel Elementary school begins to come together is to get to know the teachers. I want to begin to build relationships with the teachers as soon as possible, as well as to begin to establish myself as a credible and valuable resource for them as we embark on this exciting Lighthouse adventure.
One of the first things that I want to do this summer is to offer an informal online hangout opportunity where teachers can log in and “Meet the STAT Teacher,” using a Blackboard Collaborate room. This way I can introduce myself in more detail than I can with a mere hi or hello at the beginning of a meeting, and I can open myself up to give the teachers a chance to get to know me. I then plan to be available for a while after my introduction in order to answer any questions that the teachers have about STAT, the Lighthouse initiative, or anything else that I can assist them with this summer as they start planning for the upcoming school year. I want the teachers to know that I am available to support them, and I want them to feel comfortable coming to me for help.
Who knows what possibilities a successful hangout like this could lead to? Additional trainings, summer workshops for staff, online help sessions, maybe somewhere down the road even personalized online professional development; the sky is really the limit.
Another idea that I have been working on since attending BCPS STAT teacher orientation is the concept of teacher staff development badges or stickers. Just as students can earn digital badges on Edmodo for accomplishing various tasks, I thought that rewarding teachers who are embracing change and challenging themselves professionally could be both fun and motivating.
Instead of just awarding badges digitally though, I think we will instead look to print them as stickers and post signs outside of each classroom or office space so that teachers can display the badges that they earn. The idea behind this is to not only encourage the teachers to branch out and try new things to earn new badges, but also allow the students to get involved in the process as well. I feel that this process could create excitement and encourage the students to be excited about the new learning opportunities that they are experiencing in the classroom. It will also be a visible way to celebrate out teachers’ successes as they move forward as a Lighthouse school.
After an orientation session packed with information, I have tons of ideas rolling around in my head right now. These are just a few to get me started. All in all though, I think the process of implementing STAT in a lighthouse school all begins with the teachers. By getting to know the teachers, finding out what their needs are, and being available to support them as they prepare for an unprecedented school year I think that I will not only help the teachers to embrace and utilize the STAT position, but that we will being to create a culture and school community dedicated to embracing a collective vision as a BCPS Lighthouse school.