Join the Delaware Dream Team: An opportunity to learn, to lead
This guest blog post was written by Zubia Majeed, an algebra teacher at Dover High School in the Capital School District.
Last winter, I heard about something called the “Dream Team,” an opportunity to create lessons and resources that would be used by teachers and students on the website LearnZillion.com. This was the first time I applied to anything outside of my school. I applied because I wanted a different experience with teaching and because I had come up with Smart Board lessons for my classes and really enjoyed making them. I didn’t think that the Dream Team was going to be any different. Boy, was I wrong.
Becoming a LearnZillion Dream Team teacher has been an experience unlike any other for me.
I had no idea that what I was about to get into was not just about creating online lessons or just a “summer job.” It turned out that I was collaborating with 200 teachers from around the nation! I never thought that I could be part of a broad network like that. In May, I flew to San Francisco to participate in a face-to-face training called TeachFest. TeachFest was an amazing three days of hard work, collaboration, and yes, lots of laughter and fun. But what really surprised me was that the experience only got richer after TeachFest ended and all 200 Dream Teamers went back to their respective homes to begin their work. We kept in touch through webinars, weekly newsletters, personal phone calls, and LearnZillion even helped us get together in our hometowns and states. More importantly, all throughout the summer, I was getting one-on-one feedback from a content-expert coach who pushed me to new levels of understanding the Standards and how to reach students.
I put more hours into it than I ever imagined—many early mornings in front of the computer screen and hot afternoons researching the Standards to develop air-tight math lessons that would help students understand on a conceptual level. Sometimes, just when I thought I’d nailed a lesson, my coach would send me feedback that pushed me just a little bit further. It was hard work. But it was also exhilarating professional development unlike anything I’d done before.
Now, LearnZillion is partnering with the Delaware Department of Education to build a Delaware Dream Team — finally, teachers in my own state will be able to experience the community and professional development I was a part of.
Although Delaware is a small state, it has a rich community of talented, creative, and passionate teachers. As a math teacher at Dover High School, I’ve gotten to witness this first-hand with my own colleagues. And yet, I often feel isolated in my teaching and planning. I’m sure I have colleagues around the state doing amazing things in their classrooms that I could benefit from learning about. But I don’t always know about it. The Delaware Dream Team is an opportunity to break down those barriers and for Delaware teachers to build their Common Core expertise.
As a state, we were one of the first to adopt the Common Core Standards. Now is the time to take this work to the next level. I feel that being on the Dream Team provided me with the push I needed. Not only did I get deeper exposure to the Common Core Standards, but the community and support structures of the team also gave me the confidence I needed to create learning experiences that would be powerful for my students—and for students around the world. I am not an expert yet, but I am definitely in a better place in understanding Common Core. I feel very lucky to have become a Dream Team teacher, and it as has also opened up new opportunities for me professionally.
However, by far the best of part of my experience with the Dream Team is yet to come….when my lessons “go live” in a few weeks, students from around the world will be able to use my lessons at school or at home. I hope that teachers who view my lessons will also find them helpful to understanding the Common Core. It’s definitely very exciting to know you’re able to reach beyond your own classroom.
Why not teach to the world and make a bigger impact? Why just limit yourself to your classroom or school? This is a great opportunity to be able to “scale your impact,” and implement the Common Core standards at the same time! I’d encourage all of my fellow Delaware colleagues to apply. The deadline is next Monday, November 11th. Learn more and access the application at delawaredreamteam.fluidreview.com.
LearnZillion, in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education, will select 40 talented teachers from across the state to join a Delaware Dream Team. They are looking for teachers who want to broaden their impact, learn from content experts, and challenge themselves in new and exciting ways. Selected teachers will work with LearnZillion’s Common Core coaches and Delaware colleagues in online Professional Learning Communities in the winter and spring of 2014, with the goal of creating original formative assessment tools and resources, which will be published and made available to all Delaware teachers on LearnZillion.com. Selected teachers will also attend “TeachFest,” a 2.5 day kick-off event in early January where the Dream Team will meet with coaches and colleagues, dive into the standards, and begin building a community of Delaware Common Core ambassadors. In addition to Common Core professional development, teachers will also receive a $500 stipend.