No teacher is an island. I have heard this phrase many times, but had little idea what it truly meant until I found out how much teachers rely on others for ideas and support. In order to exemplify collaboration within the school (HOPE principle E2), I must be open to collaboration and be adamant in my intentions to work with others. My mentor teacher has not only been a mentor to me, but she has also helped her grade-level partner in her transition into the second grade. Previously a third-grade teacher, she relied heavily on my mentor’s ideas to help her through her first year at the new grade level. Essentially, she provided a model for me to know how critical it is to ask for help during your first year – whether it be first year at a new school, a new grade level, or even first year teaching. As I prepare to go into my own classroom, I will use the relationships I have developed at my current internship site to ask as many questions about first grade as possible. I will be going into the Kindergarten classroom to see the level at which my next-year’s students will be. I will be going to the first grade teacher to get advice on the first few weeks of school – that critical expectations-setting time that can make or break your whole school year.
In reading education blogs, I came across a great post about teacher collaboration on Edutopia by Ben Johnson. The author notes that he had a very difficult time when he was first starting out since he tried to work in isolation. It was only when a coworker approached him for collaboration that he felt comfortable sharing ideas and being open to the ideas of others. Some of his advice for teachers is to build relationships from the very first day, observe other teachers whenever you can, ask questions, and be prepared for collaboration meetings. In having deliberate collaboration, and not just hoping that the answers to our problems will just spring out of nowhere, we can improve our productivity in these meetings, both formal and informal, and be able to improve the ways in which we teach.
Johnson, B. (2011). Making the most out of teacher collaboration. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-collaboration-strategies-ben-johnson