Math Director Danielle Doyle shares how Teach to One: Math has improved relationships and collaboration amongst teachers and students.
In an Elizabeth, NJ middle school, a lively discussion is happening. Voices are flying over the desks with enthusiasm about a math lesson. This is exactly what we want to see happening among students in a Teach to One: Math classroom, but in this particular room the discussion is happening over teachers’ desks.
Robert Morris School 18 adopted Teach to One: Math in the fall of 2015 as part of a $3M federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant which supports the model, and a rigorous evaluation of its results, at five middle schools in Elizabeth, NJ. When Math Director Danielle Doyle first heard about Teach to One: Math, she was a bit skeptical. “At first, I thought an open space with over 100 kids and six teachers would just be too loud,” she says.
Now, in its second year of implementation, Ms. Doyle has become a champion of the model and the way it increases collaboration among teachers and students. “I realized that it means students get the opportunity to work with every teacher, and are exposed to different modalities, which is really beneficial for them.”
Interacting with an entire cohort of students can be a benefit for teachers, as well. “Instead of building relationships with just 30 or 60 kids, I like that now there are 200 kids I get to know, and they get to know you. While it can be challenging at first, you have four years with these kids to really help them progress consistently.”
The math teachers at Robert Morris School 18 have become a true team since the implementation of Teach to One: Math. Before, planning and teaching were largely solo activities. Now, teachers meet daily for a common planning time and are able to discuss student growth and challenges, while supporting each other’s professional development in and out of the classroom.
Robert Morris School 18 is taking its commitment to professional development even further by participating in a grant initiative to record and analyze selected Teach to One: Math class sessions to identify both exemplar practice methods and those that might be improved. This project aims to strengthen the instructional practices of teachers across the New Classrooms network in an intentional and data-driven way.
“The collaboration you get here does not happen when you are in your own classroom; you just can’t find the time otherwise,” says Ms. Doyle. “Other teachers didn’t get to see what we do in our classrooms every day until Teach to One: Math, and that’s really how you improve your practice: by watching each other teach.”