My Colleague, Mike – a FLICC/AIMS Workshop

The second year of the FLICC/AIMS partnership, designed to bring mathematics professional learning (PL) to rural Florida educators, has begun. I, Deb Porcarelli, have the distinct pleasure of working directly with AIMS Facilitator Mike Fassl in the K-2 strand this year, preparing together but each of us taking responsibility for two of the four sites.  Mike hails from East Amherst, New York.

In mid-September, Mike and I spent two days facilitating the grades K-2 mathematics workshops in Florida, focusing on Number Sense. This is a rare opportunity when we facilitate workshops.  Through the years we have both facilitated many AIMS workshops, but we had never had the opportunity to collaborate and present an AIMS day as co-facilitators. I was curious to know what Mike thought were the successes and the challenges of co-facilitating. I wanted to know what his biggest take-away was, and what he would change if he were to have the opportunity to co-present with another colleague in the future.

Mike started by saying, “Having 60 years of combined experience in the field of education did not hurt!!”  He laughed! Together we had a lot of experience knowing what teachers were looking to take away from a workshop. Our time discussing, collaborating and planning prior to presenting was key to our success. Mike felt that we seemed comfortable with each other, bantering back and forth. He really thought this helped the teacher participants.  I was curious what he meant by that, and asked him to explain more. He said, “We were able to fill in the gaps in explanations, or development of content. Most of all, working as a team made the whole workshop a richer experience for our participants.”  

My reflections mimic Mike’s. I would add that while one facilitator was presenting, the other was able to notice participants’ responses and engagement, allowing adjustments to be made immediately to improve the day. Having two personalities, two people’s opinions, and two people with vast expertise, was a fabulous combination. We complimented each other well, and learning and working with a colleague afforded me an opportunity to grow professionally.

It is rare that we are able to offer two experienced facilitators at a single workshop. I was pleasantly surprised that participants’ reflections indicated added value in having co-facilitators, as well. Please leave me a comment below to continue this conversation.

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