Collaboration...what does that make you think of? I've recently had a bit of a revelation about collaboration and I want to share my insight with you.
The word has been around, but my definition of it has changed dramatically. That being said, I'd like to take you on a little journey through my inner dialogue as the word collaboration has come up in the past.
High School - I get to collaborate on a project...sweet, that means I get to hang out with my friends to "work" on a project. Really we'll spend about 2 1/2 hours of gossiping and 30 minutes of working. I love collaboration.
College - I have to collaborate on a project...really, ugh. Now I'm going to have to do all the work on my own because I don't trust my group mates to do it right. I hate collaboration.
Graduate School - I have to collaborate on a project...thank the lord, I am so busy I am barely going to have time to do my own share of the work. My group better know what they're doing. I love collaboration.
First 10 years of teaching - You want me to collaborate with other teachers in my building...okay, but when? I have lesson plans to complete and curriculum to learn (because lord knows I haven't taught the same grade level for more than 3 years in a row). I'd love to collaborate, but I don't know what I have to offer. I am still a rookie, here. What if they don't like my ideas? What if I say something stupid? I'll collaborate, but I think I'll mostly listen. I'm afraid of collaboration.
Last 2 years (aka - since I started my love affair with Twitter) - Collaboration...no problem. I have developed and excellent PLN that I can go to with questions, ideas, etc. and I KNOW they can help. Want to know how I know? Because they are amazing, intelligent, passionate people. Collaboration...can't live without it!
Are you ready for my revelation about collaboration? For you to collaborate, you don't have to be in the same room with someone...heck, you don't even have to be in the same country! The world we live in right now is full of opportunities to connect with people all over the world, and you know what? They have incredibly insightful things to offer...who knew!?!
So I throw this out there to you all. Get connected. Find people with common interests, teaching methods, and educational beliefs as you. If you are a flipped teacher, fill out the "connection forms" here and start meeting people. Believe me, it will change you.