Why You Should Apply for the Delaware Dream Team
This blog post was written by Annie Slease, a sixth grade ELA teacher, and member of the 2014 Delaware Dream Team. It was originally published by Learn Zillion.
From the moment I opened up the online application for the 2014 Delaware Dream Team, I knew it was different. In over twenty years of teaching, I’ve endured my share of ineffective professional development. I wasn’t interested in more of the same. So, when a colleague at work suggested that I apply, I agreed … reluctantly. I was curious, but I was also skeptical. My apprehension immediately started to fade when I took a look at the application. Unlike with most PD, this application required me to reflect on my teaching and share what is important to me as an educator. It required that I show what I had gained from my time in the classroom, instead of just talking about it. I felt like my opinions and experience mattered. By the time I had completed the application, all doubt had disappeared and I wanted to be a part of the Delaware Dream Team and experience the work and fun of Delaware’s TeachFest.
Luckily, I was chosen and I’m incredibly thankful that I was. Being on the Dream Team was more challenging than any graduate course I’ve ever taken and more meaningful than any professional development I’ve ever received. At TeachFest, the in-person PD event held last January, and through my virtual PLC in the weeks afterward, I was able to work with other like-minded educators from across our state and dig deep into the Common Core standards using materials relevant to me in my classroom. Because the work related directly to my own classroom text, I felt like every step of the process was valuable.
Impact on My Classroom
My students played an active part in my Delaware Dream Team work. I learned how to construct effective text-dependent questions using one of my own classroom texts. As I created drafts of these questions, my students responded to them. Their feedback helped me fine-tune my questions and create appropriate supporting material for students requiring extra guidance. This process allowed me to gain a better understanding of how to create effective text-dependent questions. For the remainder of the year, I was able to apply this new understanding to other texts in my curriculum. My students read more critically and responded more insightfully than they had before. I am certain my experience with TeachFest Delaware will continue to positively influence my teaching in the future.
I’m very proud of the work we did this year. I encourage any educator who wants a unique opportunity to learn and grow as a professional to apply for this truly worthwhile PD experience.
Now, it’s your turn.
Find out more, and apply here!
Applications close September 19th at 11:59 pm EST
Have more questions? Check out the Information Session webinar recording to learn more about the application process and timeline. We’ll also share tips from the 2014 Delaware Dream Team teachers. Watch it here.