Challenge 28: Ask a colleague for help.
The ever wise, David Rogers (@davidErogers) once reminded me that “Sometimes we scan the galaxy for good practice when it's in the classroom next door.” No one can deny the power of social media to forge connections however, as the ORRsome Rachel Orr reminds us, there are other ways that teachers can reach out and connect without the aid of shiny tech!
“The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives” – Robert John Meehan
Good teaching thrives when teachers work together, one of the simplest ways to connect with other teachers in your school is to ask for help!
Whether it’s help on classroom management, assistance with some classroom tech or support with a troublesome pupil, asking for help can provide that simple olive branch that helps you start building connections with your colleagues. But remember, the door swings both ways! Being available when others need help is another way to build positive relationships with your colleagues. Many schools have an ‘Open door’ policy where staff are free to wander in and out of each other’s classrooms. An open door policy is great for fostering a ‘We’re not alone’ and ‘We’re all in it together’ ethos but it’s also great for creating an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of free ideas and resources! In-fact, one of my favourite strategies ‘C3B4ME’, was discovered during an impromptu visit to a colleague’s classroom, thanks to a lovely poster on the wall! So, even if your school doesn’t have an open door policy, leave your door open because, you never know, it may just encourage others to pop in for a chat!
And, if it’s not help you’re looking for, why not ask for some feedback instead! Feedback doesn’t have to be judgemental, nor does it have to be graded, in fact, some of the best feedback I’ve had didn’t come from observations from school leaders but instead from informal conversations with friends and colleagues.