This week I attended a meeting for ‘Leaders of Accreditation Network‘ (LAN), where we discuss the accreditation process of NESA and ISTAA. At this meeting I was introduced to someone who said, ‘Oh I know you, well I feel I know you. I heard your story at #RWLN (Renaissance Women Leader’s Network)’. I was humbled. The next day I attended the ACEL conference, 'Teachers Leading Educational Reform’, with Professor Alma Harris and Dr Michelle Jones. After attending and participating in this event, I have many questions for Australian educators regarding building collaboration not cooperation or delegation...
- Why do we move teachers every few years (typically 3 yrs), place them into a new grade/stage level and ask them to collaborate?
- If we accept that Collaboration is complex, why do we assume all teachers will collaborate because research says it is effective?
- Does culture eat strategy for breakfast?
- Is collaboration mandatory in your school?
- Are teachers told to be part of a Professional Learning Communities or is this optional?
- What are your PLCs based on?
- Are coaches facilitating the learning in these collaborative groups?
- Are the executives/leaders the facilitators?
- How is teacher agency and voice evident?
- What comes first, culture or PLCs?
- If collaboration and collective efficacy are powerful and effective, do schools protect and value allocated time for this?
As my school has just become a NESA endorsed provider, I recently attended a NESA workshop to learn more about eTams. We were asked to introduce ourselves and it was amazing to hear how many people knew others from various schools. Towards the end of the workshop, a woman beside me, Sarah mentioned that she follows me on Twitter. She then proceeded to tell me that I had attended the Growth Coaching Course with her husband, Jon. Talk about 6 degrees of separation! I really enjoyed our brief conversation and we hope to catch up again soon. I wonder ....would we have spoken to each other without the platform of Twitter?
Blogging, TeachMeets and Twitter are great catalysts for developing relationships. You can really get to know people and they can get to know you, as this past week has shown. When you are in a new context, it can be difficult for others to ascertain your beliefs, passion and purpose. I will continue to focus on building relationships and trust, by having informal conversation, listening deeply and coaching where possible. This is how I will get to know my colleagues and they will get to know me.
I bet you have ABBA singing in your head at the moment…sorry about that!