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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Take the Long View: What Matters?

As I spoke to a colleague the other day, I was amazed at the dedication, diplomacy and care she brings to the profession. I've watched this colleague over the years make one good decision after another in an effort to serve children well and be an active, positive member of the teaching profession. She's an inspiration and a teacher's teacher.

Her example lends wisdom to our paths as educators and begs the following questions:
  • Who are you in the profession? What are your gifts to contribute and how will you use those gifts with good collegiality to uplift your own practice and the collective practice of the team(s) your work with?
  • How do you purposefully develop, contribute to and work to create positive teams in your midst?
Then, as I thought more, I recognized the countless acts of good collegiality I witness regularly on the many teams that I work with. In many ways these acts don't stand alone, but instead, work in tandem with collective efforts to make teaching and learning teams strong. These actions include the following:
  • Taking the time to recognize and show interest in individual's feelings, needs and contribution. The best team members send a note, lend a hand or find other ways to empathize, encourage and support one another.
  • Regular, positive and helpful communication. Good team members keep you abreast of their efforts and teamwork with regular, informative, positive, streamlined updates. This regularity also helps you to join and contribute to the work that's being done.
  • Honest, helpful feedback and questioning is another way that colleagues help to forward collective efforts. This kind of feedback and questioning can help us help each other to focus our individual and collective work in ways that matter.
  • Lead time and good scheduling affords us to be part of a team, contribute and gain support.
  • Shared research and learning supports our need to be well-informed. No educator has the time to read all books, attend all conferences or study every issue related to their work and field, but if we differentiate our efforts in this regard, we can all contribute to giving everyone a strong, holistic knowledge foundation.
Organizations need to look carefully and work inclusively to create dynamic systems of teamwork and share. Individuals and teams also have to maximize the potential those systems bring by contributing the best attributes of teamwork and collaboration--the kind of attributes my inspiring colleague and others bring to our field of education every day.