Teachers in the Math Department are encouraged to teach multiple subjects this year. This policy has always existed but has taken greater effect this year because Principal Wynne Satterwhite would like the teachers to be more “versatile.” This policy has more teachers teaching the same subject with the goal that they will collaborate.
As a result of this policy, many teachers are new to teaching a course. Some teachers feel this is disadvantageous, as they have not seen the subject matter for years and are expected to teach the new course.
“Setting up for a course takes a significant investment of time,” math teacher Carol Evans said. “Figuring out where kids have trouble and setting up for less plans [takes time].”
Teachers also wish that they could “skip the first few years” and already feel comfortable with their classes and subject matters.
I want to be able to know [the course] inside and out,” math teacher Laraine Ignacio said. “It feels like I’m blindly navigating.”
Some worry that students may be at a disadvantage as well.
“In later years, you know what activities work and what doesn’t,” Evans said.
However, some hope that adjusting to the new curriculum will not pose too much of a problem.
“Students are good at adapting to changes teachers make as the year goes on,” Ignacio said. “I always ask them what suggestions they have.”
Despite the additional work of teaching a new course, many teachers see it as a chance to expand beyond their horizons and are willing to take up the challenge. They feel it is time for something new and different.
“[After] teaching a course year after year, you can get stagnant with it,” math teacher Teresa Dunlap said. “I see it as an opportunity to grow professionally.”
Some students also feel that they are at a disadvantage but understand the struggle teachers may go through at the beginning.
“All teachers have to start this way, so eventually it builds them up to be good teachers,” an anonymous senior said. “But when they are brand new at teaching the subject … they may not know the curriculum to follow exactly … and that’s disadvantaging us for AP [classes].”
The school hopes that this policy will allow teachers to learn from each other.
“The theory is: Two people teach and share successes; it will make the class stronger and better for students,” Evans said.