The department’s Teacher Ambassador, Eva Boster, interviewed a teacher at the Discovery School in Murfreesboro who says despite not having enough hours in her day, her students make it all worthwhile. Shea Payne teaches fourth grade at the Discovery School at Reeves Rogers Elementary. Here Shea talks about how she uses data, plans with the end in mind, and constantly battles to beat the clock.
What motivates you to teach?
I feel like I was put on this Earth to teach; what motivates me the most are my students. They are the reason that I come to work everyday, the reason that I stay up late looking for fun and engaging ways to teach a lesson, and the reason that I keep coming back every year even when I have other job offers or mountains of paperwork to muddle through. My students make teaching worth it!
What is your biggest challenge as a teacher?
Time. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the paperwork that is required of my colleagues and me, AND to do what I need to do, which is to be the best teacher for my kids.
How do you approach planning for the day, week, unit, or year?
At the beginning of the year, my grade team sits down and makes a plan for each subject to pace ourselves through the year. From there we create unit plans, pulling all of our resources together to discuss what absolutely has to be taught and mastered for the unit and what we consider to be non-essential, meaning that it can just be mentioned or discussed, but doesn’t require mastery. Then we each tackle our own planning for the week, using resources of our own choosing, to accomplish our targets. My team works together to pre-test and post-test each unit in math and reading. We also use the data from those tests to form small instructional groups.
Data teams consist of our principal, vice-principal, our interventionists, each grade level’s teachers, a special education teacher, and a curriculum coordinator from our district’s central office. Our school data teams meet once a month to go over data.
Our school has a “Data Room”, where student performance is visually organized to ensure their needs for intervention or enrichment can be met. Additionally, all of the teachers in a grade level meet about twice a month to discuss the pre-test, post-test, or other common assessment data that we have gathered in math or reading. We use Excel spreadsheets to organize the data, and then discuss what students mastered and what they struggled with. We plan how we will reteach the areas that students struggle with. We also use this information to create flexible groups within our classrooms.
If you would like to share your voice from the classroom, please email TNClassroomChronicles@gmail.com.
We would love to listen!