We all know how isolating a teaching job can be at times, but there are a number of little steps that we can all take to help each other enjoy our jobs more.
Unlike other career types, there are surprisingly few faculties that engage in regular team-building and collaborative efforts. There are also a lot of outside forces that have a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of teachers, from eagerly involved school boards to the latest state and federally mandated testing requirements. It’s no wonder that many teachers feel isolated and completely on their own.
Here are a few points that you may find helpful in trying to break out of your silo and engage more deeply with your fellow teachers:
- Support one another
- Stop the blame game
- Find more ways to collaborate
- Go out of your way to do something nice for a fellow teacher
When you’re frustrated with bad habits that students may bring into your class at the start of the year, it may feel good to place the blame on the teachers that came before you, but is that really productive? Why not just accept your students for who they are and where they are on their educational journeys?
Try some positivity
In the same vein, when you have the urge to take to your social media accounts at the end of a long and stressful day, why not take a more positive action instead?
Rather than create a post outlining everything that went wrong during your day, there is another option. You can just as easily create a post that even during one of your most challenging days there were a few bright spots that helped to get you through. Encourage your fellow teachers to join in and post tales about their daily bright spots in the comment section.
The power of small gestures
Think of a small gesture that you can make to help brighten a fellow teacher’s day. Is it bringing in coffee to the faculty lounge one morning? Are you able to take the time to just sit and listen as a fellow educator shares a challenging situation with you?
Simple gestures such as these can go a long way in helping your fellow teachers feel a lot less isolated and alone. We all know how great it feels when someone takes time out of their day to do something nice for us; why not return the favor?
It’s time to work together
Rather than sticking to your classroom during free periods, why not put yourself out there and pursue some opportunities to collaborate with other teachers?
Yes, you do need a lot of prep time, but sometimes, say once a week, it can be good to give yourself a break. Whether you seek out another teacher for a defined project, or you just make plans to get together for a chat, this type of collaboration can work wonders.
From something as simple as working with the art teacher to create some classroom decor, or spending some time with the sports department to get some exercise while comparing notes on teacher strategies, it’s a win-win proposal! Let’s look out for each other, and take some small steps toward greater collaboration. Teaching can be isolating, but it doesn’t have to be.