The longer I teach; the more I realize how much I rely on my colleagues to be successful in the classroom. Even the best teacher is better with a partner, because as trite as it sounds… two heads are better than one. In my ten years in the classroom, I learn as much from other teachers as my students learn from me. I’ve been lucky to have many types of collaborations… PLC (Professional Learning Communities), gifted resource, special education, and UVA student teachers, are just a few examples of partners I’ve worked with over the years. I am thankful for the strategies I’ve learned from working with others that have made me a better teacher.
Today, I had the fortune of following the lead of my collaborative partner, Brandon Isaiah. He suggested we create centers that were multi-sensory, utilizing computers, expo markers, and a game with dice. We reviewed the material covered so far this year in an engaging lesson that was enjoyable for the kids and adults. Students “counted off” to get a station, creating a situation that allowed everyone to partner with new classmates. Collaboratively students worked together, making learning pleasurable, and preparing them to get along in ways they will be expected to in their future fields.
Trying new things can be scary… especially when you are the one in front of a room full of people waiting to follow your lead. Taking risks is easier with a team. As I watched my classes giggle and laugh during today’s “quiz review,” I was thankful that Mr. Isaiah showed me new ways to work with students in the classroom. When I complimented his work, he sheepishly said, “I got it all from watching other people.” But that’s what great teachers do, observe, model, and make things their own. Together, we improve each other, making education better for all the children in our schools.