Go into the office at the
Etobicoke Civic Centre, check e-mail, do some copying, return phone
messages. Drive to a downtown Toronto school for a mid-morning appointment
with a principal to discuss a workshop for her staff. At lunch time, conduct
a 45-minute workshop with the primary math teachers from this and two
neighbouring schools in how to use a particular resource. This resource is
often a paradigm shift in the way teachers approach teaching math. After the
workshop, debrief with the principal, discussing any needs that came up
during the session. Drive back to the office for a mid-afternoon
meeting with a publisher who has some new resources to show. If thereís
time before and after the meeting, more phone calls and e-mail. After
school, a session at an Etobicoke school with a group of teachers who have
asked her to talk with them about ways of assessing student progress.
At least, that was the day Rochelle Williams, an instructional leader in
mathematics for the Toronto District School Board, had planned for September
But the day before, a secretary in the school she was visiting looked at her
and told her she had pink-eye. Williams didnít think so because her eye
was just a little itchy. The secretary, said, "No, itís pink eye. You
should see the doctor."
The secretary was right. The doctor confirmed it and ordered Williams to
stay home for a few days. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is easy to catch, and
Williams had been in a school where some students had it. She could not risk
passing it on.
She cancelled her appointments.
On September 20, Williams stays at home, keeping the lights dim, and makes
phone calls for a new workshop that will help teachers work with kids who
have a gap in their education. She spends some time working on the materials
for the workshop. Itís scheduled for two weeks hence.
Williams has been teaching for 11 years, the last four as an instructional
leader. Moving out of the classroom was a tough decision. "I really
enjoy mathematics and I didnít always as a student," Williams says,
"I always resolved to myself that I would teach it differently. Once I
was at the faculty I saw there was a way to teach and learn that really made
you a part of the math, rather than shuddering a bit and saying I just have
to get through this. So, I really went after lots of courses and workshops
as a teacher to be able to be the best teacher I could be of mathematics to
elementary kids. So having done that, I was encouraged to seek this
position. It was a very difficult decision because I still miss the
students. I really do."
But, she wants teachers to know, "Mathematics really doesnít need to
be so challenging a subject to teach. It is challenging but we talk about a
constructivist or hands on approach and that makes it a far more enjoyable
curriculum area to share with kids."
Toronto District School Board
Elementary and Junior Mathematics
Certified in 1990
Faculty of Education, York University