I spent part of my break reading The One World Schoolhouse by Salman Khan – founder of Khan Academy. It’s a great read. One chapter caught my eye – “Teaching as a Team Sport” and I couldn’t agree more. I started my career in K-12 education with 16 years teaching 4th grade. In my early years, my classroom was definitely my own island. In fact, at one point I left my position to become Technology Coordinator. After two years, I decided to go back into my 4th grade position. The principal and vice-principal sat me down and said they were a little concerned that I would continue to run my classroom on my own with no outside help. (And yes, I am an only child.) Evidently, when I left, the three 4th grade teachers became a “team” and started doing everything together…lesson plans, newsletters, field trips, etc. They were concerned that I would not want to be a part of the new team and I assured them I would give it a try. I did – and loved it. My dear teaching friends changed my own teaching life forever, and I am so grateful! We collaborated on everything. This authentic, true, loving collaboration helped us run three 4th grade classes like one unit. Sharing ideas was exciting! Our energy was constantly renewed from the enthusiasm of a new idea leading to best practices.
In a one room classroom, that is all you get – one teacher. But when you join forces with others, you can gain from their experience and expertise. Khan also made mention that this multiple-teacher approach solves the problem of teacher burn-out by giving teachers professional companionship and real-time support that makes work less stressful. “Younger teachers would learn from more experienced ones. Older teachers would absorb energy and fresh ideas from newer ones. Everyone would benefit from being less isolated” (Khan, 2012, p. 199).
This tends to be more common in K-12; however, it is a positive trend that is moving into higher education as well. The benefits of inter-disciplinary collaboration are many. Share your ideas and expertise. Collaboration can help decrease the workload and increase a positive spirit. So – what will you do to increase collaboration on your campus?
The picture above? I was playing with an app called Rhonna Designs (Designs to Uplife and Inspire).
It was selected as one of the features in the Trends/Stylish Photo Editing category for 2013 @AppStore. It is a great app, easy to use, and worth taking a look at! Congratulations to Rhonna Designs! It is currently free HERE.