A UAGC Teacher’s Experience
A Teacher’s Program
how to interpret
a teacher’s program
On Monday, this teacher starts the day off at 8:30 am with AM Advisory, followed by a Prep period. The teacher has a prep period A Block on Mondays and Tuesdays, but on Wednesdays they are assigned to “On Call.”
Then, they teach an Algebra class without a co-teacher (co-taught classes are coded with section numbers in the 20s or 30s). They then participate in the Math Department meeting, which is followed by PM Advisory. Then, the teacher is on lunch. After lunch, the teacher has a co-taught Algebra section (see the number 22 after the name Algebra? That number signifies a co-taught class), followed by a solo-taught Algebra class. The teacher’s day ends at 3:43 pm.
The teacher is assigned to “Assist” in G Block on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (indicated with a “TW” in the schedule)., and “PD” on Fridays during G Block (indicated with an “F” in the schedule).
A Day in the Life of a UAGC Teacher
There is a lot of variation in the schedules provided to teachers at UAGC. The flow of the week begins with school days that start at 8:30 and end at 3:43, and then end earlier on Thursdays and Fridays by 1 and then 2 hours.
On Thursdays I began the day in my PD Cohort, where my colleagues and I would identify individual professional needs and work together to find the resources necessary to aid our growth. This could result in reading a shared text, visiting classrooms, debriefing past PDs, sitting in at dashboard with administration, looking at student work, or participating in an activity (like a fishbowl). Having PD during the day is exciting because of our ability to see things happening during classes rather than discussing them after, and not waiting until the end of the day to get into the work around our practices.
After this, I had a reading class, where for 70 minutes students are engaging with texts and one another to explore self-created inquiries about big ideas, grounding discussions and notes in textual evidence. Students select into a text based on their interests, and work together to understand an author's intention for creating a piece, where said piece lives in a social context, and how the features of the text help (or hurt) it's message and purpose. My role is to be a referee while students engage in thoughtful, promotive discussions and create the space to be metacognitive about the learning experience. Once kids break from this format, they transition into Work Time, where they also nurture the skillset of intentionality by selecting texts that interest them and pose a challenge to them as learners. While students engage with a diversity of genres, perspectives, and learning challenges, my co-teacher and I meet with scheduled students for conferences. In these conferences, students identify challenges they are facing and lead the problem-solving process of resolving their challenges with the teacher. Students then recount their narrative to think meta-cognitively about the skills, strategies, and resources used to aid their understanding, and make a commitment around their learning. At the end of class, these students share their stories with their peers, both celebrating their learning and providing additional instruction for students.
I transition into a prep after this class, and either meet with my co-teacher to plan lessons, learning groups, or review things that need following-up, and either grade, review class data, or engage in professional development or parent outreach.
After this block is advisory, where students come in for 10 minutes and participate in community-building, health-focused exercises.
After our lunch break, my next hour is scheduled for coaching; during this time, I am either meeting with teachers and reviewing their PD plans or discussing their self-identified area of needs, helping teachers navigate our professional framework and PD resources, or visiting classrooms to observe, model, or coach in the moment with the teacher.
The day ends with Enrichment, an hour that is very much lead by student interest, as students discuss what they would like to add to the school day (such as meditation, yoga, music, regents prep, theater, etc.) and teachers sign onto a group that they believe they could support as students explore a topic or subject. This is a great way to establish relationships with students based on interest and intrinsic motivations; it's an amazing community builder because students also get to see hat their peers are into and bring that excitement into their other classes (if they so choose).
a new way of teaching & learning
“UAGC has given me hope in education.” - Christopher S., Building Science Teacher
“UAGC has certainly changed my perspective about k-12 education. I attended a traditional public school in NYC and honestly never felt empowered in the classroom. I was not aware schools such as UAGC existed. I realize that the" one-size fits all" instructional model is ineffective and we need to work to meet the individual needs of each and every student.” - Miriam A., Special Education Teacher
“I believe in UAGC's instructional model because I believe in the principles of democracy, and I believe that the work we do is in service of preparing students for engaging in and contributing to a democratic society. If ever I were to have children, I would send them to UAGC for this reason. I trust this environment to create intentional, responsible, kind, and cooperative human beings.” - Jeannie Z., English Language Arts Teacher
the teacher experience @ uagc
“I believe in the instructional model at UAGC. Self-guided learning is how I wish I had been taught. I would absolutely send my child to UAGC because I see the results of students who have agency over their own learning. I only wish there were more schools that followed the same philosophy.” - Miriam A., Special Education Teacher
“Classes all follow a similar structure, but because the students are choosing their own research topics and genres, there is plenty of diversity to always keep things fresh. When not teaching, my time is split between curriculum development, grading, planning with my whole department, and self-guided professional development. All of these activities happen every week.” - Christopher S., Building Science Teacher
professional development @ uagc
“We have a period designated for PD every week where we closely observe teachers and students in the classroom. We also make sure to debrief these experiences so that all teachers are providing actionable feedback to one another.” - Miriam A., Special Education Teacher