Carol Harper has been supporting the FIP team since she graduated from the University of Dayton in May ’13. Her mother, Laurie Harper, teaches first grade in Oakwood City Schools. Read the following conversation between the pair to see the impact FIP is having across Ohio.
Carol: Can you tell everyone a little bit about your experiences in education?
Laurie: I have been teaching since (gulp), 1984. I have been a director for a private tutoring company, and have taught special education public preschool. I also had my own preschool through my church and was a substitute teacher K-6, for 4 years. I taught 2nd grade for 13 years before making the big jump to first grade, where I am finishing my first year as a 1st grade teacher.
Carol: What’s your favorite part of teaching?
Laurie: My favorite part about teaching is helping the student become an independent learner. It is so gratifying to see a child discover that they can do things all by themselves…and do it well.
Carol: When did you first start working as a district with FIP professional development?
Laurie: When Race to the Top began several years ago, our district started using the resources that Battelle for Kids and ODE offered.
Carol: Did you know about the FIP in Action Modules when I suggested you take the Math Grade 1 module?
Laurie: No, I did not know about the FIP in Action Modules. But the first grade math module was perfect for me.
Carol: What did you notice as you progressed through the FIP in Action module?
Laurie: I noticed that the module helped me focus on moving the learning forward for each student. FIP in Action allowed me to watch another educator reflect on the learning they saw going on in the classroom and modify the activities they use in order to meet the goals for student progress.
Carol: What was the outcome? What did you learn from the experience?
Laurie: After watching it I looked at my next day’s math lesson and reworked the activities. I found that by really focusing on the clear learning targets, I was able to create better learning activities for each student. During instruction, I saw a marked improvement in their ability to grasp the new concept.
Carol: How has your perspective on PD changed?
Laurie: PD is important…no matter how long a teacher has been teaching. I like opportunities that provide educators with meaningful ways to help students reach their learning potential.
Carol: If you could give some advice to other teachers in Ohio about FIP, what would you say?
Laurie: I would tell them to use it. Whether you have been teaching for 25 years or a single year, it is important that we never take our eye off of the target-which is to provide the best learning opportunities we can for our students.