Over the next month, this blog will feature excerpts and guest posts surrounding my latest book, Leading Connected Classrooms- The Heart and Soul of Teaching and Learning. This book is designed for teachers, teacher leaders, and building leaders who are looking to bring excellence to the learning in their schools.
The desire to share is human. When people ask for assistance, there is a natural urge to say yes. It may take time from the day or attention away from the focus of the moment, but to serve others brings great pleasure. In schools, there are many moments when teachers are asked to assist those who share their learning space. Teachers cover classrooms for doctor’s appointments. They share kids with another class for a meeting that pops up and print sub plans when their colleagues are away. All of these speak to the natural human urge to share, support, and help.
Scaling this sharing and collaborating to truly amplify genuine instruction remains a work in progress. Even in a time when the resources and tools are plentiful to allow it to happen, teachers are not sharing and collaborating at high rates across school boundaries. Both structural and attitudinal barriers remain. Ask a prospective teacher candidate about three teachers outside the school with whom they deeply collaborate on an ongoing basis, and except for a few, rare occasions, they don’t have a quality response to the question.
Why is this cross-school, cross-state, cross-country sharing essential? It is a simple case of ideas amplification. The best ideas are always as fragmented as a jigsaw puzzle. Some sweet sauce is being used in one classroom, while another piece is found in another. It takes deep sharing across many classrooms to fold these ingredients together into the instructional sauce needed to maximize learning.