Teacher support: What does it look like?

In May, the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and brighter. Finally, right? The year has probably brought laughter, some tears, stress, more tears, victories big and small, and challenges that you have personally promised to tackle differently in the next year.  Some of those challenges may actually present themselves as opportunities for you to engage in teacher support activities throughout the school year. If somebody asked you whether you had enough time to print, copy, laminate, assemble, and organize instructional materials for your students, would you laugh and/or cry, or would you say, “No help needed here. I’ve got it covered!” If you were asked whether you had time to collaborate with your colleagues about students’ progress, would you say “absolutely,” or would you even know what that looks like?  If teachers supporting teachers is an alien construct in your world, then maybe some of these ideas could help ground that concept into your reality.

Materials Preparation

As teachers using the Links curriculum, you are probably well aware of the instructional content available to you on the website. Let’s take a moment and think about the component parts of the Featured Routine units. You have small group activities, independent work materials, simulations, behavior support visuals, morning meeting activities, etc. Some teachers have been so impressed and overwhelmed at the variety and quantity of content that they have described it as falling down the rabbit’s hole. Let’s catch you before you drop! Delegate, delegate, delegate! If there are two or three of you on your teaching team, maybe each of you could be responsible for printing a couple of components to create a master set of materials. Once they’re printed, create a bin where all of the Featured Routine materials could be stored in a central location. Teachers can then easily access master copies without all of the work of printing everything individually. Since we’re in the business of skill development, it may be appropriate for some students to learn certain aspects of material preparation. If you would like to create a district routine to capture these skills, then all of the teachers in your district can access that and individualize it as needed. Each teacher could take one component, create the routine, and share it within the district.

Data Meetings

The Links curriculum requires a goodly amount of data collection. How else are we going to know if our instruction is working, right? Have you ever looked at a student’s data and asked yourself, “how in the…, what in the…, huh?” Of course you have! As much as we are experts in our own students, two heads are generally better than one, especially when it comes to perplexing data patterns. Instead of living on your own data island, why not put two teachers’ heads together and get some support? Every teacher has to participate in some form of Professional Learning Community or Professional Development, so take the opportunity to bring some data and bounce ideas off of one another. Of course, teachers don’t want to be all data, all the time, so it’s equally important to have some fun and relaxing time with your co-workers. A little after hours merriment with your team can sure go a long way J

If you have decided to teach summer school this year, then thank you so much for devoting your time! We will be sending out some tips and suggestions to enhance your summer school experience in the next two newsletters. Stay tuned!

Click Here to Preview a Links Featured Routine Activity: Summertime Charades