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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Collegial Challenges

In every work place, there's bound to be collegial challenges.

Perhaps two colleagues see things differently. Perhaps supports vary. Perhaps experience, work conditions, time, and expectations differ too.

In every work place, there are going to be perceived and real injustices and inequality. That happens.

No matter what challenges exist, we do our best to work together to the best of our ability. When educators collaborate well, they provide a strong model of teamwork for students and they maximize the potential good cooperation holds for teaching children well.

So what is one to do when collegial challenge exists?
  • First, give people space to do their jobs well. While collaboration is positive, it's not always possible for a large number of reasons. 
  • Next, when issues of concern come up, deal with them sooner than later. It's not good to let issues fester.
  • Also, when issues arise, look at the issues through the lens of what's best for children. How can you and your colleague work together with children's issues, interests, and needs front and center?
  • When it comes to issues of inequality or injustice, it's best to seek the support of your union or trusted colleagues with respectful, data-based, well-researched efforts. You can't typically face these issues on your own. Do good research. Find the supports available, and work to resolve or make peace with these kinds of issues in systematic ways.
  • Keep a record of events which will help you to analyze the issue well, and have data should you need it later on.
Schools are very busy places. There's little good time for positive collaboration, and often important communication is late or missing. The sometimes harried nature of school schedules can lead to collegial challenges. Overall it's important to step back, chart the events, analyze deeply, and work towards the best possible collaboration.

None of us have all the answers or do the work best. It's in our collaboration that we do good work for students.