As health teachers, we often feel like we are defending our subject matter because we are constantly advocating to help develop the whole child and their overall health. And, up until recently I felt the same thing. However, back in November I noticed a shift in my colleagues thought process because of the increased level of collaboration I started to do.
As we know, Illinois has legalized the use of recreational marijuana. I wanted my students to debate the pros and cons for this legalization (and how it would impact them), SO…I enlisted the help of a Language Arts teacher and a Social Studies teacher. During their classes and the time leading up to the debate, the LA teacher presented ways to debate and modeled what a debate should look like. Additionally, our social studies teacher talked about the history of marijuana and the purpose of legalizing drugs and how it can affect our country as well as the countries distributing the product. This allowed our students to be more knowledgeable when it came to completing their own research on the topic.
Not only did I find that our students benefited from this project, but I also found that our teachers found some positive benefits as well…here’s what I concluded:
- Collaboration Improves Problem Solving Skills – When teachers work together to solve problems, we learn how to be empathetic and acknowledge different perspectives. When we are able to understand diverse perspectives, thoughts, and ideas from the entire team, we will be able to solve problems more effectively and efficiently in order to move forward with a positive solution. This in turn improves teamwork and builds positive school culture.
- Collaboration Builds Positive School Culture – Collaboration naturally brings people together from different teams to share ideas and create a vision with a common purpose. In this regard, teachers who work together learn together, they learn to trust each other, and work from a place of support and positivity.
- Collaboration Increases Learning – Collaborative experiences allow teachers the opportunity to share their knowledge and ascertain how other people work and operate. This in turn helps to build trust and improve the school culture.
- Collaboration Boosts Morale – As previously mentioned, when teachers work together regularly, this builds trust and the overall morale in the building improves. An increase in trust among faculty naturally improves productivity because teachers believe in one another and their overall purpose in the classroom. “75% of employees rated teamwork and collaboration as important and value being a part of a team,” Clear Company, Sept 2017.
- Collaboration Helps to Overcome Obstacles – It is clear that teachers have been faced with a variety of challenges throughout the school year. However, we are able to collaborate effectively and problem solve wisely when we learn to understand each other’s experiences. In this regard, teachers who work together are more likely to understand one another, learn from one another, and overcome obstacles together.
Collaboration takes effort among administration and teachers alike. However, over time, it can create a more passionate and positive work culture that increases overall productivity.
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