Collaboration. (sigh) It seems every time I turn around someone is talking about it. I almost feel like I need to put a dollar in a “swear jar” whenever I hear the word “collaboration.”
I understand that collaboration is a necessary part of my job in order for my students to succeed. However, I feel like the expectations placed on me in this area are unobtainable. As much as I would like to be in more than one place at a time, it is just not possible (hence the need for super-human powers—and maybe Richard’s cape).
This year, I am expected to meet with each teacher while they plan their lessons and assist in the process while providing accommodations and modifications for the students who have IEPs. My school is rather unique in how we do lesson plans; they are done as a grade level. For example, one teacher will submit the language arts lesson plans, while another submits the social studies lesson plans. This is done to ensure that teachers are collaborating and that the classes in the grade level all stay on a similar pace.
I do not have enough planning time in my schedule to meet with each teacher in my grade level to discuss accommodations and modifications on their lesson plans. I feel so overwhelmed just trying to check in with the teachers and provide meaningful accommodations for my students.
In addition to collaborating with my grade-level team, I am now a member of my school’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT). I am truly honored to be a part of the ILT, and it is yet another example of teachers getting together with the administration to collaborate. We have been collaborating on a theory of action for our school, outlining a data-driven path that our teachers can follow to increase our students’ comprehension.
However, can too much collaboration turn into a bad thing? This past week I have had meetings from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., then another meeting from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.—next thing I know we are picking up my students and beginning instruction at 9:07 a.m.
In Allisence’s most recent post, she talks about finding balance between professional life and personal life. I am struggling to find a balance between collaborating with my colleagues and planning for my own classroom and students. Is there a way to find a middle ground?
I feel so overwhelmed right now trying to make sure I collaborate with everyone that I need to. While I am so excited that teamwork is such a part of my school’s culture, I fear I am spreading myself too thin and not doing an effective job.
What have you done or seen teachers do to effectively collaborate with colleagues?