“Collaborate” :intransitive verb. Noun form is “collaboration” – 1:to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor
Simply put, collaboration as described in that first definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary website is the best resource/tool that a school can have and that leaders can encourage, especially in this recent epidemic.
What makes schools work best are the relationships between the people: administration, teachers, students, parents, and community. No set of standards, no checklist, no standardized test, and no evaluation criteria can ever really measure the importance of people using other people as their best resources to create a collaborative learning environment where students can achieve optimally.
In just the one week that North Carolina’s schools have been closed the amounts of collaboration, sharing, and giving of resources, insight, and encouragement have been overwhelming. It has been more about what can we do for each other rather than what I can get that others do not have.
In a “reform – minded” culture that promotes business models for education and screams for “competition” on an uneven playing field, the very entity that really gets eroded is the ability for professional educators to “work jointly with others or together.” Initiatives like merit pay, bonuses for test scores, removal of class size caps, and elimination of due-process rights creates a culture of insular competition.
Many of us may be teaching from our homes and communicating with students virtually, but we sure are not creating a culture of insular competition.
Education is about people, not products. It’s about growth, not bottom lines.
It’s about all students, whether they sit in your classrooms or not.