An Island in the Middle of a School

As many of you know, I have been a pullout enrichment teacher for the past 7 years. I really love what I do, and get a lot of satisfaction from my career choice. Working with gifted children is an awesome and sometimes difficult task, but add on to the fact that I only see my students for 5 hours one day a week, and some classes have students from different middle schools.

I am finding the longer I teach a pullout program the more I realize I am an isolated classroom in the school. I do my own thing, and in my own way covering the state standards that are required of me in the units that I write for my students. There is little overlap of what I do in my classroom and what my students do in their regular classrooms.  At times its a lonely island. So, reciently I decided to come up with some ways to encorperate what I do into their regular classrooms, or at least come up with some overlap.

Our principal has decided it was important for each team of teachers to come up with an interdiciplinary unit that would encorperate as many teachers as possible, including the gifted intervention specialist, art, music, and gym teachers. I am working with two 8th grade teams. I one team is creating a unit on the Civil War, while the other is creating a unit on reconstruction. As I was talking to the teams I am working with, I began to there are ways that I can add those enriching educational aspects they can’t based on time restrains. I also began to see that I can do some overlap of what they are teaching.

So what keeps me an island in the middle of my school? To begin with I am not on a teacher based team that meets everyday. I only meet with teachers on the unit we are building every few weeks. I don’t have time throughout the day to email or meet with teachers to have a meaningful conversation see what they are doing in their classrooms. I also don’t have a common planning time with any of the teachers in the building since I have my students for such a large block of time.

The thing is, I know that I am not the only person in the school that feels the same way. I don’t know if I have the answers to everyone’s issues, but I can try to figure out mine. Different pullout teachers have different issues to deal with.

What can I do to build a bridge to the mainland of my school? One thing I have decided I will do is to make time on our “unit days” to see what is going on in their classrooms leading up the unit. That way I can get a chance to see what they are doing in the near future. I have also asked for uptodate copies of pacing charts. This way I can see the overview of the large topics they are covering along with the standards from the Common Core they are hitting. I am also getting in contact with my building coach to fill in where some of the places I need some help understanding some of the topics that need to be caught. I also made my curiculum avalible to all of the team leaders to share with their members so they can see what I am covering.

Looking forward, if I had my way I would use some of the technology that we have at school.

1. I would have a calendar for each team for them to put their snyopsis on for the week. Everyone in the school would have access to join it.

2. I would create a google group that everyone in the school joins and discuss what they are doing in their classrooms.

3. Have a form that each team fills out a google doc filling out the important information from each person on their team and have the team leader share the doc with everyone in the school.

I really feel that if everyone could share what they are teaching with eachother there can be more open and creative dialog between teachers. There can also be more sharing of resources and ideas.


One thought on “An Island in the Middle of a School

  1. Richard Mankiewicz

    May I suggest that you are feeling rather how the kids would feel… had you not been there! I think being on an island with peers is pretty good for the students. If I had had this opportunity in any of my schools, I think I would have run with it and thown away the rear-view mirror. (sorry, haven’t read your whole blog so not sure which subjects you teach). Sounds like you’re doing a grand job! 🙂


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