CARA BUCCIARELLI - I am a teacher, and I cannot imagine my profession without collaboration.
In my first two years as a world language teacher in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), I looked everywhere for opportunities to collaborate with other teachers.
I read — and continue to read — national language listservs that are communities unto themselves. I attended possibly every professional development offering through the Office of Language and Cultural Education at CPS. I completed cultural courses for teachers at the Field Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art, and I participated in a CPS professional learning community.
I joked that I was so interested in learning about available resources, perhaps I should have become a librarian instead of a Spanish teacher.
Then I began to share these resources with others. With a consultant, I demonstrated a lesson on integrating other subject areas into world language. I presented professional development on technology resources, including leading a group of teachers through creating their own classroom website, and I started wikis to better share resources both within my school and district-wide.
I spent a significant amount of time engaging with my colleagues, through CPS and on my own, growing as a professional. For the last two years, I have served as a Teach Plus Chicago Teaching Policy Fellow, an opportunity that has prepared me to use my teacher voice to effect change.
Teach Plus recently hosted an event in Chicago to bring teachers together to discuss collaboration with the National Center on Time and Learning, an organization working with CPS to plan for extending the school day here. At times, teaching can be an isolating profession, so there was plenty of passionate discussion about how to promote and protect productive teacher collaboration.
Read the full article on Huffington Post.