Teaching team a win-win formulaNov 16th, 2010 | By admin | Category: In Every Issue, Learning Kids, Teacher Spotlight
Teaching team a win-win formula
By Heather Hughes
“More homework problems!” “Stay awake!” “Challenge yourself!” “Get higher test scores!” These are words you expect to hear from a teacher. In Jamie Bassham and Christopher Morris’ Tyner Academy math class, these are the students’ words.
The TEACH/Here Program has partnered resident teacher Morris with experienced mentor teacher Bassham. Based on the model of a medical residency, Morris will spend an entire year learning how to navigate a classroom with Bassham’s help, after which he will take responsibility for his own classroom in a Hamilton County secondary school. “I am blessed to be chosen,” Morris says. “You have to do the job to learn the job.”
These two have turned doing the job into a dance.
The quadratic formula was the topic on the day we visited. Bassham and Morris shared the stage in an exciting way. They began with a quick review and then presented complex problems for students to solve together. For the entire time, there was talking, questioning and intense discussion between the students and teachers. Both Bassham and Morris moved around the room, taking turns center stage and assisting small groups in solving problems.
The teens were so engrossed in their work they ignored us with our cameras. Every now and then we heard giggles, but these students were interacting with each other to solve the problems before them. They did not hesitate to raise their hands when they had questions or needed help—and how quickly a teacher was at their side! The beauty of this partnership is not only the real experience Morris is getting in a classroom, but also the fact that there are two teachers working the room to help students. That calculates to less wait time and more learning time.
“Wow,” says Bassham about the experience. “That’s the way I would like to have been trained.” The arrangement benefits all: The resident is exposed to the reality of everyday teaching, the mentor teacher gains new ideas and insights, and the students have two people dedicated to their success.
If you want to see teenagers asking for more homework, visit Jamie Bassham’s Excellent Classroom at PEFChattanooga.org/ExcellentTeachers. To learn more about TEACH/Here, visit TeachHere.org.
Heather Hughes is a former Hamilton County teacher and an occasional volunteer with the Public Education Foundation.