By Leigh Martinez

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Teachers at rural Central Valley schools are giving up their weekends for the next two years to become students again.

Kindergarten teacher Linda Duchnick has been running a classroom for a long time—41 years—but even she admits she could learn a thing or two.

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“There’s always something new to learn. I like to hear other people’s ideas, how they handle things, because we all run into things we can’t handle,” she said.

And when it comes to math, four more teachers at Banta Elementary School signed up to forego weekends and summer vacations for the next two years to learn more.

“I never thought I’d be a math teacher, honestly. But now that I’m in this role, I can’t see myself doing anything but math,” said teacher Tabatha Vega.

The University of the Pacific and Teachers College of San Joaquin will offer specialized math training to a select number of teachers. The effort is designed to get teachers better equipped to teach Common Core math.

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“They’re going to need to increase their own understanding about standards, about the content that’s being asked of them to teach,” said Teachers College of San Joaquin president Diane Carnahan.

The UOP mathematics program is only being offered to rural schools. At Banta Elementary, not only is it in the country, but more than 75 percent of its students receive free or reduced lunches. Teachers say this is an opportunity they needed to take to raise the bar for their students.”

“We want the best for our students and you can’t give them the best unless you seek out the best and this is part of that,” Duchnick said.

And giving up their free time is worth it for the educators who say they want to be the teachers who make a difference.

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“I would like to see myself as the math instructional coach. I’ve had mentors in the past, I want to be that person,” Vega said.