Consider schools ten years ago. They are quite different than today. Although the difference can be quite remarkable, have you ever considered how you got here? How did you know to change? Who influenced you to be who you are today as an educator? What made an impact on how you learned best practices? When I first started teaching, I remember sitting through professional development and hearing colleagues share with me that we were just on the next “wave.” At that moment, that particular wave was important, but something else would eventually carry our attention.
Although we have all experienced tons of waves, the essential questions remain.
What is best for students?
How can I make sure I am doing what is best for students?
Of course we can talk data, and we can talk about mandates. You and I both know that our peers are our BEST resources. We have a campus of educators seeking the answers to these questions every day and answering them. If you are reading this, I’m sure there is something that you could share that is working really well in your room.
I am not an advocate for cookie cutter classrooms,
I am an advocate for a culture of sharing.
Just the other day, I witnessed something great going on in a couple of classrooms. Later, I commented that they should share it with our staff. They were so proud. My sweet, humble, rock star teachers shrunk and said, “No way.” They knew what they were doing and felt afraid of how staff would perceive them if they were asked to share their best practices. I was quickly mentally reminded that not everyone is the “loud mouth,” I tend to be. Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of their peers. It is time to check your fear at the door. When you find something that works great for your students, it may be the very thing another teacher is seeking. We must rid ourselves of the notion that sharing is “pushing” our ideas on someone else. Most of the fear we have of our peers is all in our head. Win that battle of the mind, and check any perceived egos at the door. Everyone benefits.
When we share what works, we are fostering a culture of collaboration. We are strengthening our relationships as professionals and banning together for the good of students and our profession. By modeling a culture of sharing, our practices will show our students how the world really is supposed to work.
The truth is, there is no way any of us can do this alone. There is no teacher alone on an island changing the world for good. We are stronger together. The next time someone shares something with you, acknowledge with a sign of appreciation. Next time you have an “aha moment” in teaching, spread it like jelly. If you still remain afraid of the wonderful humans on your campus, post it on twitter….they are invisible. 🙂 After all, #kidsdeserveit.
If you want to learn more about fostering a collaborative culture, I suggest these books:
Learning by Doing
by the Kings and Queens of PLCs (AKA, Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, &Thomas Many)
by Don Wettrick
Your School Rocks……So Tell People!
by Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe
What can you share that has been great this year?
Who shares with you that you could thank?