TLC positions working together

by Taylor Burns

On Dec. 10, 2015, the PCM Community School District was informed the district received the Teacher Leadership and Compensation Grant for $328,000.

Previous Science Teacher Kristen Souza received the Instructional Coach position, which was announced to the staff on Feb. 11. The other positions, Model Teacher, Mentor Teacher and Technology Integrationist, were announced on April 19.

The Model Teachers are English Teacher Sam Pohl and Spanish Teacher Kellie Jacobson. With their positions, they are to best demonstrate a teacher’s role in the classroom. Any teacher could come in at anytime and watch and learn from them.

“The only person that has come in my room is Mrs. Souza, and it’s not uncomfortable with her, but the purpose of it [the grant] is to help each other, so thinking of the purpose and not somebody sitting there watching me makes it not as nerve-racking,” Pohl said.

The Mentor Teachers in the high school are Special Education Teacher Dana Dodson and Physical Education Teacher Tara Williams. Their role in this new grant is to help first and second-year teachers becomes familiar with the material or to just help them in everyday scenarios.

“I definitely think that this has made me a better teacher because I’m always thinking about what it looks like in the classroom from a different perspective,” Williams said.

Business Teacher Kristen Burghorn is the Technology Integrationist. Her job is to help increase teachers’ understanding and use of technology to be able to better implement it in all of the classrooms.

“There’s always new things you can do technology wise. That’s one of the cool things about the TLC positions: we can learn from each other,” Burghorn said. “We get to work with the other teachers across buildings, and we can kind of pool all of our resources together.”

Souza, being the instructional coach, is in charge of working full time with teachers by providing instruction and classroom support.

“I’ve learned a lot of what teachers do in their personal classrooms and really fun, cool stuff that they do that make them unique,” Souza said. “I’ve also learned to be a little bit more reflective, meaning taking the time to think about ‘Did my students understand this? Was it my teaching that caused them to not understand it? What is it that I need to do differently to help them learn?’”

She can go into any classroom at any time to provide help and guidance to teachers who may be needing it.

Souza is the only teacher that got a position from this grant who is no longer teaching.

Without hesitation Souza said, “I really miss my students, but I still see them a lot in the hallways and in  different classrooms. I also miss science, so sometimes I’ll inject myself into the conversations in those classrooms.”

Since it is still early in the year, these six women still have time to learn and teach others with their new positions.