In this series, “Staff Reflections,” we introduce the members of the Innovations for Learning team, who will tell us what brought them to our organization and why they’re excited to do this work.
Today: Sybil Anderson, Teacher Ambassador in the District of Columbia.
I came to Innovations for Learning in October 2011, after retiring from a long career in my hometown District of Columbia public school system. I taught for 25 years and coached teachers for seven more years, including as a Reading First literacy coach.
What I’m doing now is much what I did as a literacy coach, with the addition of TeacherMate technology.
Among other things, I support teachers with guided reading, create bag-of-books with “just right” reading levels and help with classroom management and room environment. I also aid teachers in the use of iPods and MP3 players, as well as computers used for TutorMate, troubleshooting technical issues that may arise.
I’m there, too, to lend a listening ear and to model and share best practices to all teachers and support staff when needed.
What motivates me is my love for teaching and helping children by way of coaching and supporting teachers.
I really enjoy interacting with teachers in a supportive manner, sharing, networking and giving feedback because I know how overwhelming it can get as a classroom teacher. To a teacher, having support can make all the difference.
What also motivates me is seeing the excitement and enthusiasm of teachers and students from having the latest technology — technology that’s equipped with literacy support that’s kid-friendly, teacher-friendly and fun.
The teachers love it because it requires little planning and no paperwork, it’s highly motivating for students, the feedback is immediate, and they can access the data from home or anywhere to track students’ progress.
One of my goals is to help teachers feel successful in reaching and teaching their students through the use of technology in the classroom. When this happens, they will in turn help their students succeed and achieve the district’s goal of bridging the gap in literacy.
One example: Ms. Frizzell, first-grade teacher at Randle Highlands, is new to TeacherMate. She is a young, fresh teacher and very excited about the program — especially the technology. She beams and bubbles each time I walk in her room to give her support. She always has something positive to say.
She said her students were more excited about the MP3 players when they received them than the iPods. Now, they are equally excited about both. She welcomes new ideas, suggestions, any and all collaboration, teaming and especially the tutors in TutorMate.
- Staff reflections: Michele Pulver (innovationsforlearning.wordpress.com)
- Staff reflections: Barbara Goodman (innovationsforlearning.wordpress.com)
- Staff reflections: Tahra Tibbs (innovationsforlearning.wordpress.com)
- Staff reflections: Heather Kamenear (innovationsforlearning.wordpress.com)
- Staff reflections: Jessica Nasset (innovationsforlearning.wordpress.com)
In this series, “Staff Reflections,” we introduce the members of the Innovations for Learning team, who will tell us what brought them to our organization and why they’re excited to do this work. Today: Tahra Tibbs, Teacher Ambassador in the District of Columbia
As an educator first, it brings me sheer delight to serve both teachers and students as an Innovations for Learning ambassador and coach.
I have the pleasure of unlocking the door of doubt, confusion, resistance and fear, and partnering with teachers to ignite change.
This partnership is an integral component to properly cultivating change and nurturing a spirit of excellence in the classroom. Therefore, at the foundation of this relationship with the teacher is trust. My non-threatening approach encourages teachers to see me as valuable resource and team member.
I was a classroom teacher for five years, mainly in Virginia. From 2007 to 2012, I worked for Achieve 3000, a private company that provides web-based tools for teaching literacy, training administrators and teachers in the Washington, D.C., metro area, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
I joined Innovations for Learning in July. Now I coach teachers to use our TeacherMate literacy-learning program most effectively, and help them become better reading teachers by serving as a resource and partner in the process of learning.
I love to visit classrooms and hear the captivating hum of engagement.
It is such a joy to see students on-task, interacting with games and activities on TeacherMate. I smile from ear to ear when I sit next to students in their comfy spot in the classroom and hear them “echo read” in Story Read and Record. This is a program in which students hear a page being read to them, and then are recorded as they read the same page aloud. They listen to the playback of both versions to see if they had read it correctly.
To hear students use phonetic clues to sound out words, then see them gleam with elation to hear the fruits of their labor!
We celebrate together with high-fives as learners match the correct rhyme unit and prevent an animal from missing the trampoline in Circus game. (That’s an activity that uses the names of animals to teach students how to identify the initial sounds of a word.)
The teachers are also beaming with excitement, as they scan the room and see their students purposefully engaged. When the class is so productively occupied, they are able to focus on the small group of students in front of them with differentiated, targeted instruction. I have observed that teachers who have established a good classroom management plan arrive at this place sooner.
It is my goal to make this model environment I have described the standard in all the classes that I serve.
I embrace the challenge and anticipate the adventure with great expectation!!!Tahra Tibbs firstname.lastname@example.org