AfterClass

When teachers share their ideas and skills, everyone wins. Here’s how to make that happen.

Sep 20, 2021

Teachers are full of ambition — but short on precious resources like time. That’s why teacher collaboration is so important. Not only can it help save time, but you’re also likely to generate more creative activities, resources, and lessons. By working together, you can improve your own individual productivity and carve out niche areas of expertise in your school. Here are three examples of how you can more effectively collaborate with your fellow teachers.

1. Leverage the Power of the Cloud

Google Drive allows multiple users to share, edit, and track changes in a variety of formats. The best part? You can do this asynchronously. There’s no need to all be online at the same time (which is great if you have different prep periods). The platform leverages cloud storage, which means if a disaster strikes and your hard drive crashes, your files are safe and accessible from any device with access to the internet. What if your school isn’t compatible with Google? Try Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive.

Putting it into action: Want to get feedback, ideas, or support around your lesson about how all matter in the universe is made of very small particles? Invite fellow teachers to your files in the cloud. Perhaps the math teacher will suggest borrowing math cubes that snap together (which leads to learning about different types of bonds). Or the PE teacher might take the opportunity to reference atoms and their movement during the next period to support academic vocabulary.

2. Host a Fellow Teacher in Your Classroom

When was the last time you observed another teacher? What better way to collaborate than in the actual classroom and in the moment? This gives you the opportunity to see firsthand what fellow teachers are working on and how they are facilitating learning activities. It can also provide some additional perspective about what your colleagues are experiencing and serve as an opportunity for follow-up discussions. Have a complex lesson that requires some additional support? This could be the perfect opportunity to co-teach a lesson together.

Putting it into action: Sit in on a content area that seems like it is the most different from yours. An eighth-grade reading teacher, for example, could visit a kindergarten classroom. It might turn out that eighth-graders enjoy a full-on, sit-in-a-circle read-aloud experience. Afterall, there’s a reason audiobooks are so popular — people of all ages enjoy listening to someone else read to them.

3. Film a Video

Have an idea but don’t have enough time to translate your idea into writing? Try filming a quick video and sharing it with your teacher colleagues on Marco Polo. This app combines texting, social media, and video chats all in one. You can set up groups and save Polos (videos) for later.

Putting it into action: Have different planning periods? Or perhaps you have an idea you want to share with your colleagues as you’re on your way out the door for the day. No problem. The recipient of the Polo (video) can watch it and respond when they have time.

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