This post by Whitaker Brown, an eighth-grade science teacher at Ranson IB Middle School in Charlotte, N.C., first appeared on the Project L.I.F.T. website. See here to learn how to apply in February for Opportunity Culture positions in the Project L.I.F.T. zone of schools.
Long nights. Physically and emotionally draining days. Moments feeling that I was just barely keeping my head above water. All of these were common occurrences during my (and I have no doubt, other teachers’) first year in the classroom.
Fast forward to midway through my second year and the picture is dramatically different. I feel refreshed; motivated each and every morning by the work that I do. The feeling of each day as an endless uphill climb is replaced by one not without its challenges, but rather one with a clear vision of what it will take for such challenges to be overcome. I now have time before and after school to invest further in my school, my scholars, and my development as a teacher leader. At the end of the year I’m able to see the fruits of my labors; increasing the overall proficiency of my 130 scholars at college and career readiness (levels 4-5 on EOG) from 83% my first year to 96% as part of an 8th grade science PLC that produced a student growth of 5.2% on the N.C. Growth Index (bearing in mind that a score of 2 indicates exceeds expected growth).
When asked about what the biggest difference was between my experience during my first and my second year in the classroom, my response without hesitation has been the addition of the Multi-Classroom Leader (MCL), Bobby Miles, to our 8th grade science team at the beginning of my second year. Here are 5 ways that having an MCL leading our team has made me a better teacher: