Elementary school teachers became students for two days this week as they went back into the classroom Monday and Tuesday not to serve as the mentor, but instead as the mentored.
The reason that the desks were turned on the 33 Tucumcari Elementary School teachers was that a new math program is being introduced to the Tucumcari School District during the 2004/2005 school academic year. Tucumcari administrators want the local teachers to be familiar with the specifics of the concepts before they are asked to step into the classroom and teach the new program. “It’s very important that they are familiar with them (the concepts) even if they won’t be teaching them,” said Tucumcari Elementary School principal Theresa Salazar.
Salazar pointed out that not all teachers in the district will be teaching the new method of mathematics education called Everyday Math, nor will every child be called upon to learn that specific method, but she feels at the elementary level it is very important that every teacher be knowledgeable about its methodology. “We also want to refresh the math skills of our teachers,” said about the Monday and Tuesday workshop and its challenges for both her teachers and herself. “It’s definitely been a few years since some of us have used these concepts.” Workshop director Mary Kay Dyer said from her side of the desk, she was very impressed with how well the teachers were doing on their lessons. “This isn’t easy,” said Dyer. “These are elementary teachers and we are dealing with high school level mathematics. I am impressed. They did very well.”
The teachers on their part felt the workshop was a good one. “I think it went great,” said elementary teacher Joe Trujillo about the math workshop. “It exposed us to a lot of important material.”
Fellow elementary school teacher Tonya Hodges added that the things being taught were very important concepts for the teachers at Tucumcari Elementary School to be aware of.
“It is a new program we’re starting so we need to become familiar with it.” Salazar said the attendance at the workshop was especially impressive for her because it was not a mandatory in-service at all but completely voluntary. She said she had anticipated about 30 teachers showing up for the workshop. “I was amazed when 33 of them did,” said Salazar.