I put an all-call out to my colleagues to see who would participate in this 30 day blogging challenge. Luckily for me, I had someone say “Yes! Let’s try this!”. If it wasn’t for her partnership, I would have gone to sleep tonight without an entry to this blog. But here I sit, late at night, writing down my thoughts so I could be true to the commitment I set for myself and encouraged others to do, too.
This year, I have been blessed to share my office with the other instructional coach in our building. She is an amazing leader and I learn so much from her every day. She has an idea and runs with it, she sees the needs of others before they even realize they have one, and her compassion for others is amazing. She is making a huge impact on students and teachers in our school with these qualities. At times I feel I don’t come close to this type of impact in my teaching, but I also see that we compliment each other in our work. While she is a ‘go-getter’, I am more of a ‘sit back and watch and then react’ kind of person. She helps me have a greater sense of urgency in my work while I help her slow down at times. Our collaboration and problem solving approach has allowed us to support more teachers this year than in years past.
What impact do partners have on each other in the classroom? Do they provide a sense of urgency in learning for those who are feeling less motivated? Do they provide a sense of calm in those situations where others get anxious or upset? And how do we create partnerships that inspire each other to be better, just as my coaching partner does for me? It makes me wonder if we need to be more intentional in our partnering of students. While offering them choice is important, perhaps there are times in the day where the teacher partnering students is appropriate. Our current reading curriculum has teachers choose turn and talk partners so that they speaking and listening is scaffolded for students. Some teachers are doing more turn and talk during math instruction. But I think it is greater than just ‘partnering up’. I think it has to do with how the teacher sets up the culture of the classroom to honor these partnerships so they can be successful. What strategies could a teacher use to make sure students are motivated and excited for partner work? How would this enhance their learning experience?
I am a better teacher, coach, spouse and mother because of the various partnerships in my life. I’m glad to be sharing this blogging journey with another teacher, to support me when I feel like I have nothing to say and to push me when I’m tired and may want to skip a day of this 30-day journey. There is power in partnerships.