Opportunity Culture Voices: What Is My Job, Anyway? An MCL’s Thoughts

by | May 16, 2016

“When I became a multi-classroom leader in 2013, the position was new to our school, district and state—new to the nation, in fact. I have vivid memories of the questions I received, especially in an early meeting with team teachers, when one said, ‘So what exactly do you do now? What is your job, anyway?’

“I remember feeling a little flushed and nervous, considering I wasn’t 100-percent sure, myself, of everything I would do. With all eyes on me, I responded, ‘Well, I will coach and support the teachers on my team and also teach a group of multi-aged children for literacy.’

“It was all I knew at the time.

“I’ve thought about this moment often since. I have so many answers now that I wish I knew then. It’s not that I want to validate my position as a multi-classroom leader to others (the work alone covers that), but that I had no idea of the impact I would have on the teachers I was beginning to work alongside—or their impact on me. The role has changed, and will continue to change, but the overall principle is the same.

“If I could respond now, I’d take a deep breath—very deep!—and say something like this:”

–Charlotte, N.C., K–3 Multi-Classroom Leader Kristin Cubbage in What Is My Job, Anyway? Teacher Hindsight from a Multi-Classroom Leader

Read what Kristin Cubbage would say–for which she would truly need a very deep breath! Multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) do so much for their team teachers and their students, and Cubbage’s passion for them and for her job come through in every sentence.

“My job is to coach all eight teachers in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Not the usual coaching we see in most schools today, though, because I am still teaching alongside them and take accountability for every student’s learning in those classes. No matter how much or how little experience the teachers have, I will work in their classrooms with them—and their students—to help them become an even more effective teacher. I’ll choose the precise steps that will help them change their practice immediately, and I will support them in implementing the feedback correctly—support teachers don’t usually get.”

Cubbage tells of all the ways she offers support for teachers in a demanding, high-poverty school (her “Christmas Project,” in which she sponsors children who would not otherwise get Christmas presents, has grown from one child to 165 in five years) — and the difference that makes in retaining teachers.

Cubbage’s column closes out the 2015-16 Real Clear Education Opportunity Culture series, which Cubbage kicked off a year ago. See all the columns here. Many thanks to Real Clear Education and its editor, Emmeline Zhao, for running the columns.

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