If you don’t have a strong relationship with the teacher education program in your area you are missing out on one of the most valuable tools available to you. Through a series of really fortunate events I have come to develop a really strong working relationship with the STEM Education Department at the University of Kentucky and it has transformed my teaching career.
The See Blue Math Clinic partners pre-service teachers with struggling learners at my school. It is a program that benefits our students and the pre-service teachers equally. Our struggling learners receive an hour and a half of free hands-on and interactive tutoring that focuses on conceptual development and the use of manipulatives. The pre-service teachers receive experience engaging learners and the use of multiple instructional methods to reach all students. Each pre-service teacher is paired with 3 students to make sure that all learners can receive adequate instruction. The clinic meets once a week for 90 minutes at our school. The student’s classroom teachers provide instructional information and student needs to the pre-service teachers in order to further make sure all learners are having their needs met.
Family Math Night
As a part of the See Blue Math Clinic we were able to start a Family Math Night at our school. In this fun event each math teacher designs a short math game that can be played in about 60 seconds or less and is paired with a pre-service teacher or STEM Education Club member on the night of the event to help facilitate the games. Dinner is provided for all the families that attend in addition to lots of door prizes and a program that includes instructions on how to play all of the games at home. In our first year we had over 600 people attend and it was one of our most popular school events. There is nothing better than watching a gym full of parents have fun doing math with their kids.
See Blue STEM Camp
I also get the opportunity to work with students each summer at the See Blue Stem Camp. This week long camp serves students in 5th – 8th grade and is designed to get students more interested in STEM related careers. I won’t lie sometimes it is hard to give up a week of my summer but I am always amazed at how much fun I have with the kids and how much I learn right along beside them! Read more about our week at STEM Camp here: http://www.margaretmohrschroeder.com
Finally, my work with the STEM Education Department has also allowed me the opportunity to travel to and present at both the Regional and National NCTM conferences. I have grown so much professionally as an educator due to my involvement with the pre-service teachers and other programs in place. I highly encourage all teachers to who are lucky enough to have a teacher education program nearby to form a relationship with the professors, staff, and students. It will be some of the most valuable time you spend!
Our Presentation Team at NCTM NOLA: Dr. Christa, Jackson, Dr. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, Dr. Craig Schroeder, and myself!