Let’s Get Together Thursday – Supporting Teachers in Taking Risks

So, we’ve completed a collaboration activity. Now what do we do? Recruit our next customer? Not yet! One of the most important things we can do as educators is stop and reflect. School librarians, we may be master teachers, but being one teacher in a co-teaching team is a whole other story. Stopping to examine the experience is the only way to improve and grow, which is the end goal–to always be better the next time.

Here are some questions to guide our reflection–

1) What flopped? What needs to be adjusted? Go ahead, get this one out of the way. It’s hard to not start there, as it’s most likely the thing that we remember most about what happened. Realize that even the best plans oft go astray–we just can’t plan for the surprise lockdown drill, the student who suddenly becomes ill during class, or the teacher partner who is called away and replaced by the assistant principal or a teacher assistant. Maybe the network crashed right as we were about to demonstrate the newest online subscription resource, and we’re stuck with print. These things happen, cut yourself some slack, consider how we adjusted for it, how we might have planned better, how we can be better prepared next time–learn from it, then let it go.

2) Now, let’s ask ourselves–What are we proud of? What went well? What would we do again? Now’s the time to pat ourselves on the back. Something went well, take a minute to think about it, enjoy it, and remember how to make it happen again next time!

3) Any “aha!” moments? What surprised us? What happened serendipitously that we can replicate next time? Or maybe avoid in the future?

4) What would someone else say if they’d observed the process? Would they see good teamwork? Engaged students? If not, why not? How can we improve on that the next time?

5) How were the logistics? Did we have the supplies and resources we needed? Was the location appropriate? Was there enough time? Too much?

6) What does the evidence show? Consider your objectives and goals going in–did you meet them? Does student work reflect the student expectations for the lesson? If someone looked at the curriculum objective(s) and compared it to the assessment of student learning, would they be able to declare the collaboration a success?

7) Finally, what did our collaboration partner think? Would he or she agree with our own assessment?

Ideally, when we reflect, we should spend time doing it individually, and with our collaboration partners. Be very cautious about focusing on constructive things during this process when discussing the collaboration with our partners. Don’t place blame–think in terms of improvement. Give lots of praise and thanks to our partners. Don’t forget the value of teacher talk in the lounge, hall, or even in social media. Make sure that you get a good review!

Author: Jennifer Laboon

Jennifer LaBoon is the Coordinator of Library Technology in Fort Worth ISD. She serves on the AASL Blog Committee, on the Executive Board of the Texas Library Association, volunteers with a local children’s musical theater group, and is an avid TCU fan.

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration

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