Ever had a rogue colleague? The one that has their own agenda regardless of the curriculum. What about the new grad? The one that needs a confidence boost as they wade their way through behaviour management strategies and new content. Or the disengaged teacher? You know the one - the property tycoon who moonlights as a teacher. How do you keep these colleagues focused on the job at hand - getting the very best out of their students?
Throughout my career, I have encountered all of these teachers; and whilst some of these teachers slip under the radar, others have caused great frustration and heartache - ultimately to the detriment of their students and fellow colleagues. So how do you keep them dancing to the beat of the same drum?
I'm not one for spoon feeding my colleagues; we are, after all, very different individuals with different teaching styles teaching different students. I firmly believe that a 'one size fits all' approach to teaching is fundamentally flawed. So how do I keep my colleagues focused, engaged and up-to-date?
I use the same system that I host some of my blended classes on - in this instance, my personal preference is the free version of Haiku Learning, but there are certainly plenty of other options available on the web. In order to develop a sense of ownership and buy-in, I allow my colleagues to be able to contribute resources to the relevant pages and collaborate regarding potential activities etc that may work in certain units of work. Whilst there are many ways to skin a cat, my method is fairly simple.
In Haiku, I simply set up a 'class' for each year level in my department. Each class is organised into various sections for ease of access (for example, a Year 9 HPE class may have sections for the theory and practical components for a particular unit, and subsections such as 'rules and regulations for (chosen sport)', 'beginners drills', 'advanced drills', 'modified games'). Each of these 'class' pages are shared only with the teachers teaching that particular year level (this is easily modified each year). These 'class' pages I'm describing are NOT intended for student viewing - they are for resourcing and upskilling teachers only. Whilst I do contribute some resources to each page, I also expect my colleagues to do the same. By collaborating in this way, teachers end up with a quick 'go-to' guide that they have helped create; one that hosts resources already vetted by their trusted peers.
In my experience, this has resulted in a more open and collaborative teaching environment, a better overall quality of teaching and a staff cohort that feels more engaged and less stressed. Whilst it is certainly not promoted as prescribed content, its evolution over time certainly results in a diverse range of potential learning activities. The use of an online LMS to create such resources also allows for more efficient evolution of information and a more organised and engaging collection of various media forms than was previously afforded with traditional desktop folders.
So why not give it a go? Since converting to online resource pages for staff, I've never looked back - and neither have they!