Collaboration and Leadership and Comfort Zones

I work in an environment that is incredibly collaborative. Leadership is shared because everyone plays a role -- or eight different roles -- in making our school work.

Collaboration is the air we breathe, and leadership is distributed.

And it is both the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of my work here.

It's what's best, I know -- for all of us, for our students, for the bigger picture. It also pushes my comfort zones.

I only now realized this. That collaboration and leadership challenge me.

I'm surprised because an environment like this is what I always wanted, so desperately, in my teaching career. And I know that it is at the center of what's making me grow and learn more than I ever have before.

Not but.
It's definitely an adjustment.

I also know that teaching doesn't necessarily operate this way. That in too many places, teachers stay in their classrooms, with their students, following the directives from above, carrying out the lessons and curriculum they planned mostly by themselves.

At SLA, though, I almost never work alone. Every day, I am surrounded by second sets of eyes. And sounding boards. And teammates.

And truly, teammates. We're all on the same side.

It's all part of the design. We work the same way we want our students to learn.

And they do.

And slowly, I'm encouraged and invited to lead. To step out of my comfort zone. With the help and input of my colleagues, to expand my own role.

It's been a curve, for sure. I'm learning so much from the educators around me. They are my mentors and my leaders.  They inspire me to be a better teacher every day.

My students do that, too.

I'm learning about myself, too. About what control means to me and what my own insecurities are. How they come out when I didn't even know they were in there. My tendencies and traits. And how I affect the dynamics of a group.

I'll be better for all of it.

It's a push that's essential to growth.

You can only go so far toting only your own perspective.

I imagine a lof of this extends for other adults in other professions.

Although I've never been a different professional.

The other day my friends were talking about workplaces and the layouts of their offices. And I thought, "Huh. I share my office with hundreds of teenagers who think it's actually their office. How funny."


  1. This is definitely something I always wanted at our old school. I'm so happy that you are at a school that prioritizes this. And yes, it's about priorities. Any school schedule can be adjusted to meet a priority. Just a matter of defining those priorities. Maybe our old school would still be around...

    1. I agree. I found bits of that in working with you, actually, brainstorming visions for the future and seeking every small opportunity to grow.

  2. "Slowly??!?!?!"

    We threw you into the deep end of the pool pretty much from the day you arrived.

    And you've been amazingly awesome. Every day. Just saying.

    1. Gosh, you're right. Maybe survival mode normalizes it a little bit :)