Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Collaboration is Key!

“As teachers, we continue to refine our expertise and expand our knowledge through professional relationships and conversations with colleagues, and through applying and adapting information and strategies within the context of our own classrooms” (Partnering for Success: A Resource Handbook for Mentors, 2).

As I continue to engage in research surrounding Leadership and Technology for the purpose of my Library Specialist, I couldn’t agree more with the above statement!  When I think back over the last 10 years I have spent as an educator, I know that I couldn’t be the great teacher I am without the support and collaborations of others.  From Patrick McQuade and Janice Mason who were my first true mentors in education, to Jayne Shewman who I have the pleasure of working with each day in our LLC, and ALL those in between at conferences, professional development days, and in leadership roles, it has taken a village to raise this educator.

I feel blessed to now be working in the role of Teacher Librarian for the Peel District School Board and experiencing the true support of an administration team. I have been given an opportunity to expand my collaborative role within our school and to continue building exceptional professional relationships with my colleagues.  Because of this, I have had several positive experiences just this semester building curriculum, learning new strategies, and creating professional development opportunities designed specifically for our staff.

One of the most positive experiences to date has been working together with our family of schools’ ITRT Samir, and our school principal Mr. Kamel to organize and facilitate a lunchtime series of workshops aimed at using our new technasium space and meeting the specific technology needs of the learners in our school.  Through meetings and emails, we were able to collaborate successfully to prepare and present our very first workshop that focused on iPad applications for classroom use. Through some of the trouble shooting, mini-video creation, and experimenting with verbal feedback features we were all able to learn, which will be directly transferred into our teaching.  As I have continued to experience, “...we don’t learn to teach. Rather, we learn from our teaching” (Partnering for Success: A Resource Handbook for Mentors, 2).

All of my experience would suggest that avoiding collaboration is a disservice to students.  Perhaps it is due to fear of criticism or something else completely that I don’t understand, but those teachers who avoid collaborative opportunities create themselves as islands (withouth wifi!). Instead, I have learned that understanding my areas for improvement, and then learning from other teachers who have experience, is always the best path.

Finally, I think this clip Obvious to You, Amazing to Others (shared by @gcouros at the #eloGTA in May 2014) demonstrates the exact WHY of collaboration.  You may not see how great your ideas are until someone else points them out to you - so collaborate and find out!

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