Bryan and Daphne Wilson share more than a marital bond. They are both among a distinguished group of 1500 Memphis City Schools (MCS) teachers who netted a top score on new teacher evaluation.
Bryan teaches 7th grade social studies at Wooddale Middle School, and Daphne, a teacher for nearly seven years, teaches 8th grade language arts at Airways Middle School.
Top teachers are featured on billboards across the city as part of the I Teach. I Am campaign – a component of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Teacher Effectiveness Initiative.
Through the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, teachers are evaluated annually through a new evaluation, Teacher Effectiveness Measure (TEM). Based on classroom evaluation by principals, which includes observation, testing scores and student perception, teachers are scored 1 to 5, five being the highest. The goal of the initiative is better teachers in every classroom, which, in turn, is expected to boost student achievement.
For the Wilsons, being TEM 5 teachers means much more than recognition and praise. It serves as motivation to continue to exhibit excellence in education.
"A TEM 5 teacher is much more than number or score," Bryan Wilson says. "A TEM 5 teacher has taken it upon him/herself to go beyond the call of duty to ensure that students are learning at the highest level. I believe all teachers have the same goal in mind, which is to educate and nurture the next generation."
So how did the Wilsons become top educators? First, they each incorporate various teaching strategies in their curriculum to engage their students.
"In the classroom, I use a variety of instructional strategies, such interactive notebooks, computer programs purchased by the district, and learning centers," Bryan Wilson says.
They also motivate and inspire each other at home, with Bryan Wilson, who's been teaching for four years, insisting that his wife is the more gifted teacher of the two.
"I am married to the best teacher in the district," he says. "I had a lot of difficulties my first year (of teaching). My wife taught me everything I know."
Daphne Wilson, in her seventh year of teaching, says technology is crucial for learning.
"As the world grows to be tech savvy and focused, it's important to utilize strategies that engage as many of a student's senses as possible," she says. "In my classroom, I utilize strategies from sources such as TeacherTube, Brainpop, and Gaggle.net."
Memphis City Schools provides teachers (with any score) with professional development support in the areas in which they need or desire improvement.
"The district offers a number of opportunities to teachers to improve. We have monthly regional meetings for collaboration, professional development, and training on new initiatives," Daphne Wilson says. "However, a lot of my support comes from the administrative staff at my school, the teachers I work with, and my 8th grade team members who are also level 5."
Carrying the mission of making education better for children in Greater Memphis, she says it also helps the teachers.
"I like the Initiative because the indicators are defined in such a way that describes what actual teaching and learning should look like," Wilson says
(For more information on the Teacher Effectiveness Initiative, visit www.mcsk12.net or www.mcstei.com.)