Coworkers and Collaboration

collaboration

Did you know there is no “I” in teaching? Okay well there is ONE “i” in teaching, smarty pants, but you know what I mean! None of us works alone. None of us can take sole credit for our students’ successes, nor their failures. We are a group, a system, a well-oiled machine, a… professional learning community. In fact, and here’s the real truth of education, none of us can really take credit for even creating a completely new idea. No: we are inspired, influenced, and motivated by others – we stand on the shoulders of giants and build on what has come before us. Like scientists, we hypothesize, develop ideas, collect research, and adjust accordingly. Truly great teachers can take a spark of an idea and mold it into something that is just what his/her students need. We tinker. We tweak. We ‘Frankenstein’ bits and pieces of an idea together. We adopt and adapt until it’s ‘right.’ We are really very innovative scavengers, honestly!

I’ll tell you another honest truth. I may use the word “I” a lot on this blog, I mean I selfishly named it after myself, but none of the ideas on this blog are solely┬ámine. My intent is to share with you my experiences, what works for me, in an honest and helpful way. I scavenge and alter ideas I find on Pinterest, other blogs, Teachers Pay Teachers, any resource, really, that will give me a spark of an idea. And then, I take that idea to my coworker, my partner in crime.

All of our lessons originate with a conversation. “I found something really cool last night!” or “I had a great idea in the shower this morning!” or “I read about a cool idea in this professional magazine,” etc. And then, we brainstorm. We discuss and mold and shape an idea. Are we done? No, we tweak it some more. Then, we try it out with our first hour. In the hall after first hour, “How did that go?” “Well, here’s what I am going to do differently next hour…” and so forth. We never stop. We never even teach the same exact curriculum from year to year. We reflect and record what didn’t work, and then we change it again. The truth is, no class of students is the same, and every class needs something a little different. Nothing is a one-size-fits-all for all students. And that’s something that is a sign of a really great teacher, one who knows that his/her work is never done.

So this post is an homage and a dedication to my amazing colleague. We are yin and yang, socks and shoes, Bonnie and Clyde, Beavis and Butthead (I’ll be Butthead). She’s a big picture person, and I’m a detail person. And sometimes, we switch. Nothing is more true than 1 + 1 = 3.

Do you have an awesome coworker? Who is the peanut butter to your jelly?

collaborate

 

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