|Photo by Maura Parker|
Teachers need to learn how to collaborate and what to collaborate on. Recent social networking phenomena underscores the human need to share. Now that we have the ability to share why aren't teachers doing it? Time. Teachers who do blog, read the latest research about teaching and learning, look for ways to integrate technology and other new learning into their classrooms - are doing it after teaching all day long. Many are using their summers to learn, but it is often still in isolation.
Enough soapbox talk.
Last week I had the luxury of working with my teammate for an hour and a half for professional development that we were able to design. She and I are taking Lucy Calkins' Reading Workshop class. So our work is part of a deeper context. This is the critical piece missing in professional development - working in the context of long term learning. She and I chose the topic - non fiction reading and writing unit. We were so excited, we almost forgot to pick up our kids from their special! When does that happen in professional development?
Our goal was to develop a unit for our international baccalaureate program. This is a HUGE undertaking. But, what I think other teachers in my district don't realize is that discovering how we can think of teaching in a new way doesn't need to be understood by next week. It is a process of discovery that will never end.
Teachers are perfectionist, control freaks. They can't wrap their heads around the idea of teaching and learning being a nebulous, organic experience woven together with a practice and discipline of skills. The missing link in this equation is the time and guidance needed for teachers to continue their own journey of learning within their own teaching community. This is the new job of the principal as teacher leader and coach. Unfortunately, she or he is being pulled in as many directions as the teacher. But that, my friends is another post.