NEA launches Master Teacher contest; application deadline is July 15
High school math teacher Amanda Hathaway helps students understand linear inequalities by applying them to real world situations, and what could be more real world for students than iTunes?
“Keneila has a $25 iTunes gift card,” Hathaway tells her students. “She can buy TV episodes for $2 and songs for $1 and she wants to buy at least 15 items with the card.”
The students then try different combinations and substitute variables to write the inequalities.
Applying math concepts like linear inequalities to the real world is part of the Common Core curriculum, and creative lessons like Hathaway’s could not only help her colleagues meet Common Core standards, but could also earn her $15,000 through a new National Education Association program.
Together with BetterLesson.com, NEA has launched the NEA Master Teacher Project to recruit the best teachers in the country to document and share what makes them effective. The project will select 95 of the highest performing K-12 Math and ELA common core teachers across the country, and award them $15,000 to share all of their lessons and practices with their fellow educators.
“We want to see an inspiring, thought-provoking teacher for every student everywhere,” BetterLesson co-founder Erin Osborn said. “We think this partnership is a powerful step towards realizing that vision. We agree with the NEA that, to date, teachers really haven’t been getting the supports they want and need to improve their instruction. With the work of the NEA Master Teachers Project, we’re solving this problem by bringing the full richness of Master Teachers’ curriculum and practice within reach for every teacher – for free.”
Through the project, NEA Master Teachers will provide “the what” (180-day common core aligned courses) and “the how” (instructional strategies, classroom management practices, classroom systems) of good teaching.
“The best ideas for the classroom come from classroom teachers,” NEA program director Bill Raabe said. “We want to build a free, open body of knowledge around effective curriculum and instruction – for teachers, by teachers.”
The lessons and practices will be distributed to all of NEA’s members via the BetterLesson platform. Already, BetterLesson hosts more than a million teacher-created resources and has more than 275,000 registered members, like Amanda Hathaway.
“We’re recruiting teachers who’ve gotten incredible results with their students — challenging them to grapple with complex problems and really teaching them how to learn,” Osborn said. “Our exciting and challenging work with the Masters Teacher Project is to scale the impact of these teachers for the benefit of all students.”
Master Teachers will be selected for the project by the quality of their curricula and lessons as well as on student achievement on exams and projects. As the lessons are developed and reviewed during the 2013-2014 school year, educators can access them on a beta site. Ultimately, all the lessons will be available on BetterLesson.com.
NEA plans to expand the partnership to include science as the Common Core’s science standards are rolled out.