What Does It Mean to Collaborate and Compromise?

It’s a new year and this means a new teaching assignment and new team of teachers that I am working with. This year I am teacher 17/30 blocks of Frencb as a Second Language to grades 5-9, 10 blocks of Grade 5 and then I am lucky enough to have 3 preps each week. For French I am a lone wolf and turn to Twitter to find ideas, share ideas and collaborate with others but  in my school, we plan in teaching teams at each grade level. This year I am planning with only 1 person with whom I have worked with previously, 1 whom I have done some inquiry planning with but never on the same team and 1 with whom I have never worked with. When we met for our initial team time we came up with our team agreement which we decided would be: “Doing what is in the best interest of the students through such things as collaboration etc.”

How does one define collaboration? I soon discovered that collaboration means different things to different people. According to businessdictionary.com, collaboration is a “[c]opperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal”. For some of my team members, collaboration means that we do almost everything the same in our classrooms. I struggle with this because we are not the same teacher and our student groups have the potential to be very different in their make up (we will learn more about them later on in the week). I feel that collaboration involves a sharing of ideas and building upon these ideas to make them better. For me, it also involves tweaking and doing things differently to suit our student needs as well as our own teaching style. Although I have high expectations for my students, how I help them to meet these expectations looks and sounds different from my colleagues and this has to be okay. Learning is not a one size fits all approach. A friend and colleague of mine shared this infographic with me on Twitter and I think it describes perfectly what I think collaboration is:


My team and I are going to need to come up with a definition of collaboration that we can live within this year and be open to compromising at times.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. luvbono
    Aug 29, 2016 @ 12:01:11

    Hi Jessie- Happy New Year!!!
    Looks like another growth year for you. I have 2/3 new grade level partners and am teaching Innovations (new), am the pedagogy lead (new) and am working on an FNMI committee (new). Lots of growth opportunities for me too!
    I have a few FSL things for you if you would like to get together.


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