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Why Collaboration Is Key: How Working Together Can Lead to Better Results

Updated: Mar 15

Guest post by Jacqueline Goodburn

Our school day is designed for maximum face time between teachers and their students. The students are always at the center of learning, so this is as it should be. However, that design creates challenges to teacher collaboration and support. Teachers accept the responsibility and relish the autonomy of their classrooms. Still, strong connections to each other are necessary for us to experience opportunities for feedback, new ideas, and collaboration, which can lead us to our next best. We may also miss the personal encouragement that can shield us from teacher burnout. 

So, what can we do to stay connected and strive for that next best? 

Teach with your door open - Our district has a pineapple door hanger that welcomes visitors to classrooms, but even without the pineapple visible, doors are open, and visitors are welcome. If you visit, comment positively with your colleague and thank them for allowing you to share their learning space. 

Share your great ideas/strategies/successes on social media, in the teacher's lounge, anywhere!

Shout it from the rooftops! - We host teacher-led/teacher-choice professional development days so that great ideas are shared. Be brave and share your favorite strategies, tools, etc. If your school doesn’t organize these days with your faculty, offer to share a tool or 5-minute strategy/suggestion at the end of a faculty meeting. Teachers don’t always enjoy meetings, but everyone loves a new idea! 

Take time to talk with your colleagues

Some of the best plans I have developed for our professional learning have come from talking informally with conference attendees and other learning experiences. If you attend an experience with someone from your district, resist the urge to stick together. You are more likely to encounter new points of view by exposing yourself to new perspectives. This advice works within your district as well. Sharing our celebrations and challenges with others invites us to reflect and improve our work. 

Share learning experiences by attending professional development together.

Even if you attend different sessions, plan to meet up for lunch and let the conversation flow into what you’re excited about from your learning. Your teacher friends are wonderful at helping you refine ideas for the best use in your classroom. 

Seek and offer feedback and help

If you are working on a focus area or new strategy or a colleague expresses that they are doing so, offer to have a visitor or be a visitor if your schedule allows. Ask what your focus is as a visitor so that your feedback is helpful to your fellow teacher. 

Expand your personal learning community using technology.

Connect with educators from around the globe using Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Make connections and open your classroom up to the world. I am fairly new to using social media for my professional learning, but the value cannot be denied! I see new ideas, encouraging quotes, and learning opportunities whenever I open my Twitter feed. There are chats, face-to-face events, and online learning experiences that I might otherwise have yet to encounter. 

I’m sure the theme of these suggestions is clear: make time for each other because we truly are Better Together! I wish you all a wonderful school year! 

Kids giving feedback
Kids giving feedback

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