CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB)- Teachers in Tennessee aren't just lounging at the pool this summer. The new Common core standards are being phased in, and some thirty thousand teachers are being trained in math now, with English and language arts training in a few weeks.
Tennessee is one of 45 states jumping headfirst into Common Core, a new set of standards designed to teach students real world skills, to think critically, and communicate more freely in class. This summer, teachers are being taught classroom skills by fellow teachers, called Common Core "coaches."
Cleveland Superintendent Dr. Martin Ringstaff said, "The new standards give teachers more freedom. They'll have fewer standards to teach in each subject, giving them more time to make sure every student understands the material."
Educators admit that veteran teachers are weary of new teaching methods being forced upon them. However they say Common core is being welcomed by most. The standards, they say, are clear and focused, allowing them to explore topics in depth.
Stephanie Stone, newly named assistant principal at Cleveland Middle School has been training the new math standards, and has been pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm she has seen. "I have a whole room of teachers who are buying into this, and they're excited to go back to their schools and share it with other teachers." She added, "In a typical math class, it's not just me up there telling them what to do and making them do 30 problems in class and 30 more for homework. We're encouraging them to speak up, discuss solutions together, and learn in the way that best suits them."
The best part of Common Core, according to those who are training teachers, is the emphasis on preparing Tennessee's students for job skills, much earlier than in the past. Dr. Ringstaff said, "Parents will see their children learn more about finance, public speaking, communicating, interviewing for jobs. These are all covered."
The standards are being gradually eased into state classrooms, with full implementation scheduled for the 2014-15 school year.
More information from the State Department of Education: http://expectmoretn.org/fact-fiction.pdf