10 Reasons YOU Should be Thinking WIN-WIN at School: Part 4 of I Was Burned Out

Think Win-Win:
The Best Habit for a Highly Effective Teacher

This is by far my favorite habit. The title speaks for itself, so this post is going to be pretty short. What can you and someone else do together that will help you both WIN?

Stephen Covey says in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,
In order to establish effective interdependent relationships, we must commit to creating Win-Win situations that are mutually beneficial and satisfying to each party. 

I’m going to drop a word now that is going to make some of you want to slam your head against your keyboard right now… ready?

COLLABORATION. (Take a deep breath. It really is better than what all you BURN-OUTS may have experienced.)

Google defines collaboration as “The act of working with someone to produce or create something.” I’m pretty sure that between Webster and some school buildings, the definition has been switched to, “The act of meeting in a room and being handed a list of things from our principal to talk about that could have been typed into an email while everyone sits around staring at eachother thinking about all of the other things they could be doing with this time.” Am I right???

In my first years of teaching, my idea of collaboration was tainted with to-do’s, calendars, and lists of topics to discuss from our admin. I thought that’s what it was. People sat around grading papers while others were planning the field trip that was coming up the next month. I, of course, learned that I was not part of this meeting of the minds and sat there thinking of all of the other freaking things that I had to do!!! BURN-INS. That. Is. Not. Collaboration. That is just plain wasteful.

Collaboration is sitting down and asking, “So, what are we thinking for next week? What does the curriculum map say? What is our Social Studies standard that we are going to embed in our reading and/or writing? What do we already have done?” There should be a lot of clicking, typing, and “ah-ha”ing going on. Get my drift?

If you have truly collaborated with someone, you are walking away with a physical or digital PRODUCT that you created TOGETHER and a plan of how to use said product! ‘Nuf said.

Have you ever seen the YouTube video of the penguins standing on the iceberg, helping to tilt the iceberg to ward off a killer whale? If not, check it out. It's a pretty great concept and example of collaboration and teamwork.

Those penguins were all moving in the same direction for the good of the cause.
The ants thought creatively to save a team member who was struggling.
And those crabs were not going to let someone above them take them down!

My current teaching partner and I have our entire next week planned, printed, locked, and loaded (with the exception of a few tweeks the next week) by Friday of the previous week AT LEAST. Sometimes even by Thursday. That’s some serious collab, my friends. It can be done.

Here are 10 reasons you should be scheming, planning, and reflecting with (a positive) someone OTHER than yourself:
  1. It’s WAAAAAAAYYY more fun.
  2. Your planning partner is better than you at some things.
  3. You are better than your partner at some things.
  4. You can split tasks among each other.
  5. You are different people and think about things differently! That’s a GOOD thing!
  6. You can chat about triumphs and struggles that you are having in your classrooms and figure out how to tackle the struggles.
  8. When you are sick or taking a personal day, your partner knows exactly what you will be doing that day and can answer questions that your sub may have.
  9. You can learn NEW teaching strategies. (BURN-OUTS, these BURN-INS have some GREAT IDEAS!!!)
  10. You can learn some new tricks from an old dog. (BURN-INS, this one is for you. Shut up and listen sometimes. Those vets know a thing or two.)

It may take you a trial or two to find someone who is willing or able to sit down with you and plan. Also, you may pick a BURN-OUT who does not desire to try new things. If so, keep on moving to find someone new. Don’t get discouraged. Trust me. The reward of actually collaborating with someone is worth the search. It truely is a WIN-WIN situation. Humble yourself and take a leap of faith for the good of a very important commodity: you and your students’ sanity.

Email at support@burnedinteacher.com or comment below with any questions or ideas that you have about collaboration.