Professional Growth-Reciprocity-The Partnership

At the beginning of the year I read an article called "What Good Coaches Do" by Jim Knight.  I was given it to reflect on as I embarked on a journey through teacher leadership and our new teacher group called Committee on Teaching and Learning which I was selected to participate in this year. 

In this article, Jim talks about Seven Partnership Principles: Equality, Choice, Voice, Reflection, Dialogue, Praxis and Reciprocity.  The past few weeks as I have put myself in the driver seat, alongside many amazing professionals-peers, and I have learned so much.  It was the term reciprocity from that first meeting that resonated with me, and now 2 months later it's reciprocity that continues to allow me to grow alongside these other principles. 

"When one teaches, two learn."   

While I have not exactly been the teacher in all of the adventures that I am to reflect on, in most of these circumstances I have been in a position of leadership in some way or form.  Jennifer Klein came to visit a few weeks ago and it was an exciting few days here on campus. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to work with World Leadership School in Costa Rica and of course here at Town alongside Jennifer as my coach.  For Jennifer's visit, I not only set up a schedule for her office hours, but as often as possible I sat in on the meetings to watch, learn and help coach.  This was important to  me as these teachers will likely need some follow up support in the months to come.  Insert me.  

So many wonderful conversations to be a part of... so many ideas working through people's minds.  My first meeting was with Chris.  Chris and I have talked at length about connecting math and science on SOMETHING in the future. While we had the opportunity to do a short graphing unit together this year, finding the time to develop and work through a larger project has been a big challenge.  I really want to support her project either by working through math and/or just being able to listen and learn from her experience.  Chris is hoping to make her water project global and Jennifer was able to make suggestions and offer some potential contacts. I am excited to work with her in the weeks to come as learning about how Chris's mind works, her curriculum and her ability to work in reflection and understanding are amazing.  

Next up was Humanities with David and David.  As they prepare for a spring unit working with the book Maus, David contacted myself and Kristen about possible global connections working with a pyramid of hate, making their own cartoons to talk about bullying, and collaborating with this alongside a school in Warsaw.  I was so intrigued I couldn't miss this meeting.  I loved working with David, helping to provide perspective and engaging in such wonderful, thoughtful lesson planning. The project is in the early phases and what I found to be such great insight from Jennifer was to make sure he doesn't develop the project too much before finding partners.  This suggestion is based on the idea that we don't want to come across as arrogant and with all the ideas.  If we want to build relationships with schools we have to allow the passions of the teachers also come together and build the project together.  Learning so much from this project, as it's been a long time since I studied the Holocaust.  #lovingit

Jennifer's day here also consisted of an after school session on GLOCAL.  This was wonderful place to watch our community to come together and brainstorm how we can use this amazing city to connect our students to the greater.  That said, we had visit from Justin at Kiva Zip on Monday and 6B decided today to go "glocal" with their first loan.  They made their "grace" loan from Kiva Council a local one!  We can't wait for Jennifer to be back in February and I can't wait to present alongside of her in February at NAIS.  

Jennifer's visit provided us an opportunity to really move forward on global initiatives and get people excited.  It's led me to a few more opportunities to collaborate and learn from teachers here on the Jackson Street campus.  

  • A great meeting about how building empathy in theater can lead to more empathetic global citizens and better actors.  
  • A collaboration project with 5th grade Humanities using the book The Circuit alongside discussion of Livable vs Minimum Wage?  It's just getting started.  

Reciprocity.  This feels good.  I am trying to enter each conversation as a partner, a partner dedicated and excited about global citizenship and the value of teaching with a global lense.  A colleague, a collaborator and someone wanting to learn a whole lot more, that's me!  My only fear is finding balance and time for me.