Local teachers are hoping to make a difference in North Carolina classrooms through a statewide network.
Educators Karen Tyler and Amy Foreman recently joined hundreds of teachers for the Governor’s Teacher Network (GTN). Gov. Pat McCrory established the GTN in partnership with the NC Department of Public Instruction.
It’s being funded by $6 million from the Race to the Top (RttT) grant, with a purpose to provide a statewide program for teachers to share instructional work and professional development.
“We’re improving student learning through all these different avenues,” Foreman said. “That’s the exciting thing about it. We’ll have all the access to this great work.”
It was formally launched by McCrory in early July.
According to a release, the governor said to educators: “As Governor’s Teacher Network members, you will help develop your colleagues to ensure that students have access to high-quality education. “Your commitment will increase our educational effectiveness and ultimately improve our ability to provide an excellent education to all North Carolina students. No great teacher works in isolation. Collaboration and teamwork are crucial to ensuring every classroom is led by a highly effective educator.”
The GTN is a part of the governor’s overall plan to increase teacher pay and improve education.
Officials hope the initiative will help advance RttT funded educational remodeling efforts in the state.
Tyler teaches Family Consumer Science at Hobbton High School and Foreman teaches third grade at Plain View Elementary School.
“It’s putting resources there for teachers to use,” Tyler said. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do it.”
Other listed local educators include Sampson County’s Edna Seoane and Clinton City’s Kelly Morgan.
The GTN project includes 450 educators who will serve for one year as instructional and professional development experts and facilitators. Teachers were selected through a rigorous application process and received $10,000 for their work.
From that group, half of the teachers will focus on a professional development pathway to address classroom instructional needs. The other group will focus on an instructional resource pathway, to be aligned to the NC Standard Course of Study.
Through the Professional Development pathway, Foreman is focusing on reading comprehension with non-fiction. The first half of the program will consist of working with students and the second is working with teachers at the school and possibly at the district level.
“It’s a little bit nerve-wracking, but I’ve been progressing towards that direction,” Foreman said.
Foreman said she has served on committees and is a National Board Certified teacher. She is excited about the selection and sharing information about the state.
“There’s no room for error,” Foreman said about the GTN. “You have to know what you’re doing.”
As a youth, Foreman spent time listening to her great-grandmother Donna Watkin tell stories of her teaching in a one room school house.
“It just kind of stuck with me,” Foreman said. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher.”
Foreman has been teaching at Plain View for 15 years. When the program comes to an end, she hopes a difference was made in the classroom. It’s something she enjoys doing.
“I see the effects it has on students,” Foreman said about students receiving lessons. “They take it and have ownership with their learning. That’s really a great thing to see.”
Tyler is focusing on parenting and child development education, which is a part of the family and consumer science curriculum.
Through her teaching, Tyler said it’s exciting to see students learn about life lessons.
“I just really enjoy working with the students and teaching them things I know they’re going to need for life,” Tyler said.
Tyler said students struggle with learning about the pregnancy process. Therefore she’s writing lessons to give students a better concept, with more hands-on activities to understand what occurs each month.
“It’s kind of puts everything into perspective,” Tyler said. “Teachers can see what’s working in my classroom and it can probably help them.”
For the GTN, she’s working on heredity, environment, birth defects and lessons about the prenatal period through the Instructional Resources pathway.
Tyler said she was honored to be selected for the process. She said only a handful was chosen from the career and technical education division.
“I’m going have to work very hard to meet their standards,” Tyler said. “This is something I want to do.”
Material from Tyler and Foreman will be uploaded to a system, “Home Base,” and will be available for teachers to use. They hope it’ll be a benefit to educators.
“I think it’ll turn into something really great,” Tyler said.