By Cecilia Marrero — Have you ever been in a second grade classroom with ninety students and four teachers?
I have. But before you start freaking out, let me explain.
I want you to figuratively tear down the classroom’s interior walls and think about a classroom like a body. The blood represents the students and they flow to different organs: different teachers. There are two reading organs, two math organs, and four writing organs. The writing organs also incorporate social studies and science tissues. Besides the main organs, there are other parts of the body the students flow to such as art, gym, library, and other tissues that are important. The main organ, the heart of the body, is collaboration.
This is what I found at my field placement at Brookfield Elementary.
When I arrived at Brookfield Elementary I was expecting to sit in one classroom all day with the same teacher. At first, that is what happened, except for lunch time. The second grade teacher’s used their lunch time to collaborate. They talked about student progress, renovations for the hallway, lesson plans, and innovative teaching ideas I would later experience. Each teacher had a field student. Do the math: four teachers and four field students in one classroom discussing teacher stuff. It was amazing and challenging.
The big discussion was 2014’s change in classroom structure. There was even a plan to really knock down one of the walls to connect two classrooms! Essentially, the classrooms would be functioning as a unit, one large classroom, and they wanted to test the process out. That they did and I was soon in other classrooms with different students, learning new names and other teachers’ teaching styles, an experience I am glad I had.
The Brookfield second grade staff opened my eyes to how teachers should collaborate. Before sitting in their classrooms, I never thought about how teachers should share their practice. I imagined my future classroom with four walls and the students who would sit in the desk from year to year, not hour by hour.
To watch second graders move from classroom to classroom and hear the discussion behind the scenes about student improvement and progress was an experience I will never forget. This was the first time I saw teachers specialize without compromising in communication about student progress. I want to thank the Brookfield Second Grade Team for demonstrating what true collaboration and communication amongst teachers look like. Thank you for also collaborating and communicating with my three peers and me this semester.
Cecilia Marrero is a junior at Alverno College where she’s majoring in Elementary/Middle Education. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband, and is looking forward to becoming a teacher when she graduates.