Regardless of your calling or situation, collaboration and communication
are powerful forces. There is no need to be an island.*
One aspect of teaching that I enjoyed was that each time I entered the room with my students, I could close the door and “do my thing!”
One of the greatest challenges of teaching was that each time I entered the room with my students, I could close the door and “do my thing!”
You see, the freedom to “do our thing” and be creative and “spin our magic” can come with a price. If we do not remain mindful we can, over time, become isolated. We can easily get lulled into the mindset that we are an island, separate from our colleagues. And we can lose the power and strength of what a united teaching and learning community can bring to us.
When Tony Hsieh moved the Zappos headquarter to Las Vegas, he limited the number of entrances and exists for the building. This, he believed, would better orchestrate a flow that encourages “collisions,” serendipity and progress between and amongst employees.
We lose that serendipity in our calling when we choose to wall ourselves off from our colleagues. This self-imposed isolation could have untold negative repercussions on our teaching, student learning, and on our personal and collegial resilience. And the same can hold for any other calling or life endeavor.
You have a great deal to share with your colleagues. And they have a great deal to share with you. Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach ‘K’) of Duke said successful teams play like a fist. The individual fingers represent communication, trust, collective responsibility, care and pride.
One of the principles of student success calls for students to learn about and use appropriate resources for their growth and development. In isolation, they may well flounder. With collaboration, they have a better chance to succeed.
A couple may have difficulties figuring out why they have “lost the spark.” Without outside assistance they may struggle to find the real issues challenging their relationship.
I purchased a new camera this week. As the cliché goes, I don’t know what I don’t know about cameras. So, part of my research included me reaching out to friends with photographic experience.
At my former college, I was fortunate to have the opportunity (along with a colleague who was a counselor with student services) to develop and deliver a workshop series that looked at student challenges. We brought faculty and advisors together to share insights and strategies.
I find it interesting that so many people willingly share intimate experiences and tribulations with their “friends” in the social media public space but will not walk to the office next to them to seek feedback from colleagues sharing the same workspace challenges.
Regardless of your calling or situation, collaboration and communication are powerful forces.
There is no need to be an island.
Video recommendation of the week. Clay Shirky and his view of collaboration.
[*NOTE: This post draws excerpts from my forthcoming book to promote collegial conversations and resilience. Stay tuned for more information in the months to come.]
Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
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My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.
(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.