BTSA - what goes on?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jen12, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Sep 18, 2014

    I wasn't quite sure where to post this, so I figured General Education was as good as any.

    I'm starting BTSA next week. I'm curious as to what exactly goes on? I mean, I've heard the expectations are kind of all over based on your mentor and district coordinator, but as a general overview, what do they cover and how much time did you put into it? Also, the grand question...was it helpful?
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Sep 18, 2014

    Did you do the TPAs or PACT? It's basically like that, except with your own class. There's a little more focus on inquiry - you pick something you want to focus on. But the busy work is very much there.

    It wasn't helpful to me. At. All. It was just ANOTHER thing on my already very full plate as a brand new teacher.

    But it does all come down to the program and the mentor. Others have had much better experiences than I did. For me, it was just another hoop to jump through.
     
  4. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Sep 19, 2014

    When I went through my credential program, TPAs were just being ironed out. They told us we'd have to do them, then about halfway through the semester, they told us we didn't. I think I started the science one, but that was it.

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they were helpful. The consensus seems to be that they're just one more demand during a time when there are already a lot of plates spinning. Oh well. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 19, 2014

    Anyone who knows me from the forums is aware that I am a very positive person.

    However, I have nothing good to say about BTSA. The way it's handled in my county isn't great--just TONS of busy work.

    I hope you have a good experience, though.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 19, 2014

    On the contrary, I found BTSA very helpful. It caused me to be reflective in a way that I am not usually about my practice.
     
  7. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Sep 19, 2014

    My mentor was the other 8th grade math teacher at my school, so it really helped us establish a strong working relationship. We continue to have weekly lunch meetings even though BTSA is done. The tasks themselves were not especially useful. I found BTSA to be a bit less work than the TPAs.
     
  8. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Sep 22, 2014

    My first BTSA meeting informed me that I'd learn about all the requirements at the next meeting. Not kidding. Over an hour to find out that there was another mandatory meeting to tell me actual information.
     
  9. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Sep 22, 2014

    Here are some of the great activities you can look forward to as part of BTSA:

    - Writing an acrostic (sp?) poem about reflective teaching and then reading with the class/meeting.
    - Watching a dozen powerpoints about how to fill out forms.
    - Filling out forms a 58 times because your BTSA advisor keeps losing them.
    - Spending 5 minutes in silence trying to fill out a half-sheet about your "Wonderings" about BTSA.
    - Going to a banquet at the end of each year where you will be exhausted and eat cold pasta.
    - Spending your weekends filling out redundant forms and uploading them to a website that hardly ever works.

    BTSA is a waste of time. You have to identify a teaching strategy to work with sped students and then do a unit and analyze their results. Then you do the same for ELLs. Then, you get a free choice. A total of 3 units over-analyzed and assessed. You also have to give a pre-test for each unit even if you know every single kid will fail it.
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Sep 22, 2014

    In our county they provide food...that is the best part about the meetings from my point of view. Also chocolate.

    As others have mentioned, I think it's great to create a close relationship with a mentor and to think critically about one aspect of your teaching practice in a structured way. But the meetings are out. of. control. In my county at least, the "leaders" teach to us as if we were actual children, including doing the same icebreakers and "group work" activities you might have actual elementary-grade students do. Then they make you read aloud from their tiny-font powerpoint slides, then they explain how to fill out the same online forms over and over, and then they finally actually let us get down to business and use the time to work on our projects.

    I completely understand the idea behind BTSA but I think the county-wide meetings are a waste of time and money. I mean, they buy pizza and candy for every new teacher plus their mentors multiple times per week...that alone has got to add up!
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2014

    Wait a sec...I did manage to think of one good thing about BTSA: My mentor! She is an absolutely amazing woman. She retired a few years back, but we keep in touch via FB.
     
  12. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 23, 2014

    It really depends on the support provider you're getting. They can make it the best or worst experience of your life. Mine was extremely helpful, we did have to fill out a lot of forms, some of which seemed redundant, because she did her share of the work, and more, so it didn't seem like busy work for me.
    I did mine in 1 year, instead of 2, so it did seem very intense at times (when the binder was due, twice in the year), but I didn't mind, because I knew I'd be done with it soon.

    As far as helpfulness: I got some little things out of it, but I can't say it was very helpful.
    Just do it, and be glad, because your credential will be cleared and then you're done with it :)
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 24, 2014

    I cracked up at your banquet comment, with the cold pasta, because that was exactly true for me. LOL

    The rest of it though was mostly taken care of by my BTSA coach. They didn't lose anything and they didn't show me a lot of Powerpoints. Our meetings were mostly me dictating, and them typing. Or them just talking about a certain strategy or asking me to share what I was feeling at the moment.
     
  14. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Sep 25, 2014

    I just started and I feel like they couldn't possibly make it more confusing. Is it so hard for someone to just write up an overview and a calendar saying when to be where and when things are due? I have a spreadsheet saying what is due on what dates - sort of. When I compare it to the portfolios of other teacher who've finished their first year, there is tons more in their binders than what I've been advised will have to be turned in. Our main director is the most confusing speaker ever. He'll start explaining something in the meetings, then go off on a tangent and never get back to the point. Then he makes threats about things not being turned in on time. The people I've talked to say he hounds them for stuff after they've already turned it in. My mentor seems very nice. I certainly hope she's more organized than the paperwork I've received so far. We're supposed to register through the BTSA website for these other seminars, but some of them say they're open to certain categories...nobody has told us if we fit into one of those or not. I thought I'd been pretty good at navigating academia all through college with forms and petitions for unit checks and graduation approvals and such. This seems like a whole other animal. I'm not sure the busy work will be the challenge. I think the challenge will be figuring out how to deal with this particular program at the district.
     
  15. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2014

    I'm a bit envious of the folks that say that got good food. Can't even give it that. One piece of advice I got that I will pass along - save student work - just throw it all in a big box and pull as needed. Or photo it all. You will be asked to provide samples of high medium and low student work for all sorts of things. Better to have too much to pull from than not enough when needed.

    And don't worry if it is a waste of your valuable time - just do it. GET IT DONE. Don't put it off. Good luck!
     
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Sep 27, 2014

    Yeah I'm jealous of the food, too...the best we ever got was granola bars and bottles of water.
     
  17. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Sep 28, 2014

    So far, I have forms to fill out and tutorials to watch to tell me how to fill out the forms. My mentor is at another school, so it remains to be seen if that is good, bad, or a nonissue.
     
  18. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Oct 11, 2014

    So far, I'm astounded by the amount of paperwork. Everything requires a form. Going to a seminar? Fill out a pre-reflection AND a post-reflection. And on, and on... The scope of this astounds me. Someone had to decide they wanted these forms. Someone else had to create them. Someone else distributes and collects them. Ideally, someone will read them. Then someone else has to track them and note on the BTSA website that they've been turned in. The amount of work here is mind-boggling, and I don't mean the work they want the participating teachers to do! What other state has something like this?
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Oct 11, 2014

    And the BTSA director makes about 100 K / year. That's all they do, just BTSA stuff, no longer in a classroom. I know, because mine told me.
     

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