Follow-Up: Working in a Hybrid Role: What Does It Take?
In my previous post I wrote about a teacher I work with, Jennifer Magiera, who spends part of her day as a 4th/5th grade math teacher and the other part providing STEM coaching to teachers in our school and other teachers in the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) network. If hybrid roles for teachers are to become the norm rather than an exception or rarity, we need to study those who are doing this work to learn from their experiences and identify those teachers in our schools who might be good candidates. That candidate may in fact be you.
Although Jennifer has only been in this role since September, there are some critical attributes she has that make her a good fit for her hybrid role. First, Jennifer has a passion for math instruction and the role that technology can play in supporting student learning and assessment. She has facilitated professional development on math instruction at the school and district level. This work has led her to an opportunity to work with the math curriculum publisher on a textbook revision. She also has been a pioneer in our district with using iPad technology to differentiate instruction and create dynamic, formative assessments. This leadership has earned her the opportunity to serve as an Apple Distinguished Educator. I share this information to illustrate that Jennifer has expertise that needs to be shared with teachers. The teachers in our schools are able to have Jennifer observe their use of iPads in the classroom, support them as they design their own instruction and assessments, and give them critical feedback. While this is happening, Jennifer's own understanding of the technology is deepening. The students she continues to teach are the beneficiaries of her expanding knowledge.
Jennifer is also incredibly organized and motivated. These are critical attributes of any teacher who is considering designing or taking on a hybrid role. Within any given day, Jennifer is teaching, assessing, giving students feedback, and designing lessons and units. While this is happening Jennifer is also teaching two residents teachers from AUSL's Chicago Teacher Residency program how to do these same things, as well as providing them with coaching and feedback on their practice. Add to this the coaching and support she is providing our school's STEM teachers and you get the idea that Jennifer's day is quite busy. She has designed systems, structures, and routines that keep her on track and prevent her from getting overwhelmed in any one area. She is motivated to see our students succeed, as well as the teachers she supports.
I encourage you to get to learn more about Jennifer's work at her blog Teaching Like It's 2999. We need more teachers like her who are in hybrid roles to blog, Tweet, and talk about their work. As you think about those who might be ready for this role, consider:
• Do they have expertise to share that others may benefit from?
• Are they passionate about having others learn from their expertise?
• Are they organized? Do they thrive with a packed schedule?
And finally, what can you do the support the teachers you know who are ready to take on a hybrid role and reshape our teaching profession?
Carrie Kamm is a mentor-resident coach with the Academy for Urban School Leadership's Chicago Teacher Residency Program.