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Collaboration Do’s and Don’ts

As UCDS gears up for the start of another school year, 3/4’s teacher Jenn Drake shares a few tips and tricks for successfully working together on an education team. -Ed.

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Collaboration is still all the rage in education, and for good reason!  As wonderful as it is to share our ideas, visions, lessons, expertise and experiences with others, there’s no denying that it’s hard work.  I’ve thought of a few do’s and don’ts that may help you and your team as you begin another school year together.  First, don’t be a know-it-all.  While every human has many strengths and we all come to the table with unique backgrounds and experiences, it’s critical that we come ready to learn each and every time we meet.  Therefore, DO have an open-mind.  Second, don’t lecture.  If you have a great idea and want to share it, try proposing it with a simple question: “What do you guys think?”  Or, “What would happen if we tried…?”  Questions like this allow space for others to enter the conversation and join you on the quest to try new things and elevate your teaching.  So, DO ask and listen. Third, don’t dictate.  No one likes to hear how they should or should not think, act, or speak, especially when everyone at the table is on a level playing field – we’re all teachers trying to do our best work for kids!  Instead, DO attempt to reach consensus.  Finally, don’t slam others or their ideas.  This is the fastest way to a silent table at which teammates lose their trust for one another and begin hiding their authentic voices.  It’s a surefire way to stop any progress dead in its tracks.  Simply DO lift up others, encourage them, and, most importantly, mean it.