Make the Most of Teacher Collaboration

Make the Most of Teacher Collaboration - Hands holding tree

To truly find the secret in pursuing a successful career in teaching, it's crucial to understand that the challenges of being an educational instructor don't require you to face obstacles alone. Collaboration amongst your teaching peers allows for more cohesion with lesson planning and tutoring tactics that will ultimately produce a more insightful and beneficial environment for the students.

Effective teacher collaboration doesn't have to be limited to those you work with either. The Internet has generated many online communities and websites focusing on everything from networking with other teachers to answering any tutorial questions that will enhance your pedagogical abilities. Here is an overview on why collaboration is essential for teachers, how to reach out and some great resources for educational coherence.

Studies Show Collaboration is Essential

While effective communication strategies are important for every career field, being connected with other teachers is especially important because the potential education of the youth is at stake. Several studies have been conducted exploring how a sense of unity is important for teachers to stick with their current job. Research conducted by colleagues from California State University-Sacramento found that teachers were more likely to stick at the school they work at if they felt they were being utilized and appreciated in the curriculum decision making process. Specific examples of this included everything from collaborating on syllabuses to providing input on budget spending.

Another study explored how reducing teaching turnover in schools largely depended on how successful cohesion was with teachers and administrators. In a testing sample of 602 teachers, the researchers discovered intriguing information, such as elementary school teachers generally reporting higher levels of collaboration at their job than high school teachers. The study also indicated that one-sixth of teachers in the U.S. leave their job after one year, citing that lack of inclusion played an important part in their departure.

Benefits of Solidarity

The balance of trying to exceed expectations for the students' education along with ensuring the needs of the teachers themselves can only be stabilized through effective collaboration. Weekly brainstorming sessions or lesson plan reviews not only help everyone stay on the same page, but also simply make the workplace a friendlier and more welcoming environment. It's also a great way to express certain unsatisfactory feelings you have about the current curriculum without having to meet directly with your superiors. In addition, weekly get-togethers can also help you gain teaching tips from educators with vast amounts of experience.

Arguably the most productive aspect of building a comfortable collaborative setting is having easy access to get your questions answered. You should feel encouraged to knock on a teacher or principal's door to inquire about a syllabus issue rather than intimidated. Even taking time to observe how another teacher conducts themselves in their class is a great way to gain insight to your own personal teaching style.

As much as it's important to build strong rapport with your fellow teaching staff members, making sure you're on the same page with parents and students is also productive for teacher collaboration. Parent interaction shouldn't be limited to once-a-semester conferences, and keeping them up-to-date with weekly emails recapping their child's latest projects may help improve focus as well as test scores in the classroom.

Receiving feedback from students is also a great way to see from the source how your teaching strategies are coming across. Handing out monthly anonymous teaching evaluations can help you learn a little more about what your students think of you, and all it takes is one piece of constructive criticism to spark improvement with your instructional abilities.

Start Collaborating

If you are noticing that there seems to be a sense of unity lacking in your school, don't just sit back and wait for teamwork to miraculously unfold. Take some action and try to schedule a weekly meeting with your coworkers to help build a network of familiarity. Everything from old fashioned bulletin boards to Google drive can be used to communicate new teaching ideas or pressing issues with one another, and if you're struggling to come up with next week's lesson plan, bounce some ideas around by using Podio, a website that allows co workers to create their own network page to organize and communicate their syllabuses with others. Utilizing all of these techniques will not only temporarily boost workplace solidarity, but can be beneficial in the long run for your career in teaching.

WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please check out WGU's online degree programs in teaching.

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