Monday, May 20, 2013

Teaching Lenses: Collaborative Teams

The lenses of educators differ.  The difference originates in diversity--diversity in years, intent, experience, expertise, focus and more.

How do you effectively employ the diverse lenses of educators in efficient, effective communication and decision making systems?

As a veteran teacher, I bring a lot of experience to the job.  I see ways that our work is extraordinary and areas where we can make small changes for big effect.  Yet, I rarely get to use my voice or share--there are jobs for that, and for the most part the classroom teacher is the "doer," the one expected to carry out the plans of others.

That makes the job frustrating, especially when you see room for growth and improvement.  Most suggest you just do the best you can with the systems that exist.  Others say choose one area to advocate for, and go after that.  Then some suggest moving into leadership (yet leadership and teaching are two very different jobs), and still more say find another job.

Personally, I believe the ideal is to minimize the numbers of leaders in a system to a few who manage the overall intersections, then employ most individuals in collaborative teams that share and grow their knowledge and craft to serve children well. The collaborative teams would manage their time, talent, intent and skill to best meet the needs of students utilizing constructs such as RTI, PBL and PLCs. When most educators in a system are responsible for direct student service, the system grows with strength. The collaborative team approach would make room for diverse voices, and build their positive effect in dynamic, diverse ways.

Auditing energy output and roles/responsibilities in a system might buy more time for direct student service, planning, and collaboration?  What roles and efforts significantly impact student learning in dynamic ways, and what roles and responsibilities can be revised for greater effect?  I believe that's one questions that lies at the center of educational growth and potential today.