Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Accepting the fact that I do not know it all...

I have been following a fellow teacher (and blogger) on since the beginning of this school year. He often blogs about technology and how he uses it in his ELA classroom, and he usually posts some interesting stuff. Yesterday he posted something on Twitter that caught my attention. He said "Collab for me was accepting the fact that I didn't know it all and I learn and grow with others. #edchat" Being that my action research and this blog is all about what I am learning about collaboration, while using math problems with colleages as a focus, that tweet really got me thinking about why I chose collaboration as the focus of my second action research topic.  

Teaching isn't easy.  Or at least teaching has't always been easy for me.  Don't get me wrong, I have seen growth in myself as a professional since I started, but I take it very personal when I am not successful.  I knew that I enjoyed teaching, but going into my fifth year teaching middle school math, I was feeling the strain that comes from feeling like I have to do it all on my own.  I still believe that it is ultimately up to me whether I am successful or not, but I am learning (and slowly accepting) that I cannot do it alone.

What am I learning about collaboration?
Collaboration doesn't have to be this formal "thing" that you do, but it should be focused around what you are trying to do.  If I want to be a better math teacher, I need to surround myself with those who I believe to be great math teachers.  And it's not enough to mealy surround myself with them... I need to talk to them, question them, and ultimately learn with them.  I don't think any good teacher can do it alone...  and it has taken me almost five years to realize and begin to accept that.


  1. Anna, the first thing I did was check out the blog you mentioned…and got completely sidetracked reading it. What a great blog (and I bookmarked it). I have a lot to learn about creating an engaging blog. Will have to think about how to incorporate this into the AR course lessons. Thanks for the resource!

    Teaching isn’t easy, Anna. For anyone. And anyone who thinks teaching is easy isn’t teaching. They’re probably just telling…and there is a difference. A big difference. And you are not alone. This is not work that you can do alone. And you are not the only one responsible for student learning. Everyone is responsible…you, your students, your colleagues, the principal, parents, the community, the country...And the sooner we learn that we’re all responsible, the more successful we’ll be. The one thing you are solely responsible for is continuing your commitment to your own learning.

    And of course our teaching is personal. Often many people say that we shouldn’t take things personally. Are they kidding? My teaching is important to me. Of course I’m going to take it personally. I always thought that was a ridiculous thing to say. Our work is nothing if it’s not personal.

    Your voice resonates in this post, Anna. And you are answering your question with such depth and authenticity. Brava!

  2. Hi Anna,
    I love this post. I have not accessed the other blog yet - but will. I love how I can get into your head and feel what you are saying! I am learning a lot about writing a good blog from you.

    I know what you mean about wanting to surround yourself with people that you can have nerdy, mathy conversations with! I thrive on that. It was probably the main reason I am in this Bank Street program. Being in this community has raised me to a whole different level of thought and practice.

    I am also learning the same thing about PLCs - They don't have to be a big production they just have to be purposeful and connected to what you are trying to accomplish as a teacher in the classroom.

  3. I wonder how your work looks collaboratively compared to when you work alone?

    I think/hope that you're starting a spark of collaboration in your current school setting and trying to really foster and grow that sort of work.

    Once you realize how well it can be done together, it makes it really hard to go it alone!