Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chapter 3

“There are four kinds of ‘collegial relations amongst teachers.’ The first three are: (1) scanning and storytelling (2) help and assistance (3) and sharing. Each of these relations may be found in either individual or collaborative school sites, but each is relatively unreliable to affect long term changes within a school. The authors write at the most effective form of collegial relationships are ones that concern "joint work." (p.47)

In the past I’ve experienced the first three forms of professional relationships described. The creation of a ‘joint work’ relationship where all members carry equal weight in decision making, and all members are respected as voice bearers in the conversation has still eluded me. I am assuming that less pointing of fingers as to the failures of the school and more acceptance of the teacher responsibility in a school are the litmus test for a successful school environment.

I am hoping to becaome more involved in “joint work”. Unfortunately we as a team do slip back into placing blame on individuals who do not “buy into” the philosophy of our school. We point fingers and avoid working out the problems that distract us from “joint work”. Our team has set protocols that enable a group meeting to be a venue of the open sharing of ideas.

One thing that I am still questioning is; how do we know where our school is at? If you ask me, all schools upon reflection, especially anyone who is reading a blog about education over their summer break is in a “moving school environment”. The moving school environment is one that is collaborative and more open to other ideas. Those teachers involved in moving schools tend to be more helpful to colleagues, and many are not afraid to seek advice from administrators. Does everyone have to be a total teacher in a total school?


W Brown said...

The idea of distributive leadership is something that is tough to become comfortable with. When group decisions are made and then not followed through by the implementers of said decision that does not mean that the decision was disregarded? I don't think so. As educators we may see a need in changing "group decisions" upon implementation. As long as our goals are similar and our actions transparent there should not be a problem. (eg. If we as a community decided that the 3rd marking period is to be evaluated by a project-based assessment, and the math teacher decides that is impossible and does not concur, I trust that the professional math teacher understands what the group wants but understands his or her own limitations)

Group decisions and distributive leadership is not an easy concept to swallow. We really have to let go of our personal hang-ups and begin to trust our colleagues.

fswetten said...

I agree that trust of our fellow worker is of the utmost importance, and I would like to think I have trust in all of the Montessori Community. I just don't like it when we spend hours in our SLC discussing issues and decisions and then the change. I know what looks good onpaper doesn't always work in practice and changes need to be made, but then it feels like everything done before has been a waste of time. If trust is an issue with people maybe we should do a peice of staff development on the 31st or 1st around this issue? What do you think?/

W Brown said...

I think we can always use work on trust... In order to better "work" together and make group decisions all members need to be focussed on the same goal. All memebrs need to trust eachother. We must feel comfortable with the implementors that are entrusted with our decisions.

In order for real "joint work" to occur(reffering back to the book) there needs to be a level of respect amongst the team members, without respect how can there be trust? Re-instituting the CFG type whole community meetings might help alleviate some respect therefore trust issues.

I would love to talk about this further during our time on the 31st and 1st.