Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In Which I Reflect on My Journey through the NEA Better Lesson Master Teacher Project: #SOL15

It's Tuesday and time to slice! Thank you, Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting Slice of Life each Tuesday. Head over and check out today's slices.

Two years ago I embarked on a professional journey that has had a profound impact on my professional life and is arguably the most grueling PD I've experienced. I, along with a cadre of K-12 teachers, was hired to create a ELA course that other teachers could access FREE for use in their professional development and in their classes.

The National Education Association (NEA) Master Teacher Project (MTP) was (is) designed to give educators a glimpse into the classrooms of other teachers. Yes, union membership was (is) a criteria for being a NEA MT.

During the year I worked on my English 12 course, I had the guidance of a wonderful mentor who has become a dear friend and the collegiality of three other teachers; one of our team members was forced to drop out of the program.

Although my employment with Better Lesson, the Boston startup that manages the website hosting MT courses, ended a year ago, the NEA BL MTP remains a significant part of my life. I feel its impact each week when I receive a report indicating how often resources on my page have been downloaded. Last week I had 172 downloads. My work in the MTP impacts all the teachers--for better, I hope--who visit my page and download the resources there.

I've thought about my BL page frequently the past few days as I've followed conversations about Teachers Pay Teachers, a website I've never used. I want to offer this post as a public service announcement to those looking for resources for English, Math, Science, and Blended Learning. You can find lots of free lesson plans, all complete with videos, student work samples, handouts, narratives about how to implement the lessons, time frames, images, and reflections on the BL website. All of these are FREE!

Even if you don't teach senior English, know that the materials on my page are grounded in pedagogy adaptable for many works of literature. In my course, you'll find 113 lesson plans in 14 units. None of these lessons exist in a vacuum. All are part of many collaborations I've had for over thirty years. I could not have done the work without the many from whom I've learned so much.

As one teacher to another, feel free to toddle over to the BL website and see what teachers in the MTP are paying teachers.