How often do you talk to other teachers? What do you usually talk about? Do you openly share ideas? I think for many educators, teaching can often be a very solitary job, (especially when first starting out). Of course, we are usually surrounded by many students, colleagues, and staff at our schools on a daily basis. But when it comes to certain fundamental aspects of teaching, like planning and reflection, a lot of teachers around the world do these alone. I think it is extremely unfortunate if you are one of these teachers because I have witnessed first-hand how teachers can grow and develop at an accelerated rate when they collaborate with their peers.
In my previous teaching position I was part of a wonderful and supportive teaching team. We would always share ideas and resources, which not only made lesson planning easier, but also introduced new activities and approaches to teaching that I would have never come up with on my own. Working in that kind of environment made it a pleasure to walk into the teachers’ office each day.
It might seem scary at first to ask a peer or colleague for assistance, but trust me — the rewards are well worth it. It’s great if you can start a collaborative group at your workplace, but if you are not comfortable with that idea, then there are many other avenues of collaboration available to teachers these days. You can connect with teacher friends in other schools, join Facebook groups, or connect with teachers from around the world via Twitter.
Once you’ve planted the collaborative seed, you will be amazed at how fast it grows. Since planting this idea at my current workplace, I’ve been amazed at how eagerly teachers have bought into the concept. Observing the results has been wonderful!
So, I wholeheartedly encourage you to be brave and start a collaborative community in your area. I’m sure it won’t be long before you reap the rewards!
Are you part of a collaborative teaching group? How did you get started? Share your tips and advice with us! I look forward to reading your comments!