Stop, COLLABORATE, and Listen
I know of way too many teachers to come to school in the morning, close their door, attend to their students, and leave at the end of the day. This isolation is a harsh reality for many teachers in the profession. While some may view this trend as demonstrating full attention to students, this may not be the most beneficial thing for their learning. It is very important that teachers learn to adopt an “open door policy” when it comes to collaborating with their teaching peers.
As someone who loves collaborating with others, it seems like a daunting task to block out other teacher’s ideas and focus on what I am doing. Not to mention, it may not be the most beneficial thing for my students. As Cooper suggests:
“With so little planning time available and so much vital work to be accomplished, we must harness the power of web technology to ‘work smarter, not harder’” (page 233).
Just as the web is a great resource to improve our teaching practice, other teachers in our school are a direct resource that we can use to our, and our student’s, advantage. I think it’s imperative that teachers have a consistent time and place where they can get together with their colleagues to talk and collaborate on ideas. This is a time to talk about what’s working and what isn’t working, gather ideas on what to do with the student that just won’t do anything, vent frustrations, and perhaps even split the workload!
Especially as someone who is currently a teacher candidate, collaboration is key. I like to hear innovated ideas that other teachers have implemented to improve learning for their students. Unfortunately, much of the time teachers have to collaborate is during their lunch periods. If teachers don’t reach out to one another to collaborate, there may never be the opportunity to learn from one another, which brings us back to the “show up, teacher, go home” trend.
Ideally, there would be some kind of system that can be put in place to make collaboration feasible and encouraged among teachers. This can be with teachers of the same subject, same grade level, or teachers who have worked with the same students before. Additionally, Cooper speaks of the importance to collaborate with all kinds of teachers:
“While it’s natural to collaborate with a colleague who teaches the same course, it can be just as valuable to work with a teacher in a different department” (page 238).
When teachers collaborate, teaching practices improve, teacher performance increases, and student receive a well-rounded education. Seems like the right approach to me…