Thursday, January 5, 2012
Creating a Culture of Collaboration
Last night I had the opportunity to participate in two great chats. #jedchat which I co- moderated with @dovemerson and @RabbiWex and #educoach which is moderated by some real twitter rock stars and personal friends @KathyPerret, @Shiraleibowitz @PrincipalJ ( all of these Five educational leaders deserve a early #FF). Trust me when I tell you that afterwards I both energized and at the same time tired.
The interesting part is that both chats had a very similar theme and that is supporting teachers and creating a culture of teacher collaboration. As an administrator I have often said that what we want to see from our students needs to be modeled by our teachers and sometimes for our teachers. Meaning that if we want our students to collaborate and feel supported and safe then we as educators and educational leaders to model that, and therefore teachers need to collaborate and also feel safe and supported.
In the spirit of transparency and being open and honest at times this is hard. For one thing teachers tend to be very protective of their own “turf”/ classroom and from an admin point of view there are times that we need to take a tough or strong stance with teachers and they don’t always feel supportive.
Given that disclaimer how can we create a culture of collaboration and support?
Here are some of my takeaways and ideas from last night’s chats and I encourage others to add their own.
• We need to get in the habit of saying “We” and not I and “Our” and not “My”- sounds simple but this switch shows that we are going through things together and that we are all in the same boat and we are here to help and support each other
• Transparency- This need to begin at the top and school leaders need to model and show a willingness to be open and honest and share.
• A culture of taking risks- Teachers need to feel safe and that they are encouraged and allowed to take risks in a safe environment ( which leads to )
• Teacher Evaluations need to be about growth and support and not gotcha
• Sharing success
I want to be clear I am far from perfect and this post is also if not more a reminder for me. If I had one major goal/ resolution it would be to become a better educational leader/ boss/ all around better person.