Teachers are returning back to the classroom after a restful and rejuvenating Winter Break-- many were able to safely see family, many were able to safely stay rooted in Chattanooga and savor the down time. Here in Chattanooga and Hamilton County, the landscape of how instruction will be happening has been an ever changing cycle of in-person learning, online learning, or a hybrid model of the two. Our Chattanooga Corps Members have adapted to rolling with the changes and adapting to students’ needs. This was even more evident with Callie Phillips, a 2nd year CM in Chattanooga, who led a professional development session for her school, as all teachers were returning from break to virtual instruction.
Callie teaches at Hardy Elementary school. She noted that at Hardy, 2 teachers from each grade have been virtual all year, supporting the students that have opted into the “HCS @ Home” option for the 2020/2021 school year. The remaining teachers from each grade level team have been doing in person instruction only. Callie has been one of two 1st grade teachers that has been teaching remotely all school year.
Given her experience in the Fall semester, Callie was asked by her administration to lead a 1 hour Professional Development for all K-2 teachers and support staff in her school, given all teachers will be teaching virtually starting the Spring semester. The topic was, “Delivering Phonics Instruction to Primary Learners”. With around 20 other teachers in attendance, Callie shared techniques and systems that she’s used to teach her virtual classes.
Teach For America works to develop teacher leadership so that ONE DAY, all children will have the opportunity to attain excellent education. Callie’s willingness to support her colleagues and share what she’s learned to be effective in working toward that mission in a virtual environment shows her leadership and dedication. Callie noted, “I think succeeding in a virtual world is all about collaboration and sharing ideas-- we're all new at this! At this point, I've had quite a few months of trial and error so I was able to share some of the things I've learned along the way, which felt great.”
When asked about future leadership opportunities, Callie said she she would love to continue to lead Professional Development sessions for other educators, “The veteran teachers at my school have done so much to teach me things about behavior management, lesson planning, and everything in between so it felt really good to be able to help them in return.”
We are so proud of Callie’s ownership of her experience, dedication to her students, and stepping into her leadership within her school. These stories will march us toward One Day.