My lovely wife Anne (aka the Luckiest Woman in the World) is a very skillful and ambitious gardener. It’s a genuine passion for her and our yard shows it with a large sun garden exploding with color in the front of the house and a shady terra-formed slope to the lake with hundreds of hostas in the back. Day lilies are scattered about in bright profusion.
Other than hauling an oversized rock or bag of peat moss now and grudgingly again, I contribute nothing to these stunning displays. The gardens are a display of an individual talent - even genius. Anything I might suggest would, I am sure, detract rather than add to her work. (My “yard art” purchases are very tactfully hidden among the blooms.)
I’ve been thinking a good deal about “collaboration” lately. It’s one of the real sacred cows of the profession. But I’ve been doing more thinking about how collaboration, in some circumstances, may work against goal attainment and job security.
There are definitely some downsides to working with others:
- It takes more time to reach decisions and get work accomplished.
- It takes time to find the time to work together.
- Not everyone likes working with others.
- Defining specific responsibilities is too often neglected.
- Team players may get undeserved credit or blame for an outcome.
- Some people are just a real pain in the kiester.
- Genius and imagination may be dimmed through group timidity.
- Collaboration itself becomes the goal, rather than the means to achieve it.
Here is my question - how do we know when collaboration is the right tool to use? Are there tasks for which we should have sole responsibility? Do librarians and techies who collaborate have more or less job security?
Let me know your thoughts while I go and admire the gardens.
4 Comments »
I believe those who collaborate are in a better position when jobs are being cut. Teachers see the value of the librarian; principals see the value, and everyone who has a vote, will keep those who are a part of the school curriculum. Also, those who are visible in the halls, in the classrooms, at workshops are the ones who are thought to have an impact on student learning.
Comment by Pamela Thomspn — August 10, 2005 @ 10:37 am
I have even more questions. We are going to block scheduling. I am thinking of teaming with a teacher who will teach an advanced social studies class (college credit)We would divide the students so I would be working with one group on research while he was doing other activities with the remaining students.
I have also done reading circles, which lasted for a month. Another teacher asked me to listen to some students read for a period of time.
I guess I am getting lost as to how I should collaborate to support literacy and media, and when I am getting into gray areas that I should avoid. Any ideas?
Comment by Marcia Jensen — August 10, 2005 @ 12:51 pm
Marcia, my question is how aware of your efforts and how they contribute to the goals of your school is your principal. I’d hate to see your hard work go unnoticed. We aren’t in this for the glory, but we should make efforts to let others know that we do make a difference in programs and activities that we may not “own.”
Comment by Doug — August 10, 2005 @ 3:10 pm
I have a new principal this year. I plan to let her know as much as possible about the library/librian activities so that we can get the budget and support we need.
My main worry now is that I am getting into scheduled stuff that is more than what I should be doing, thus getting myself into situations that preclude my availability/flexibility or that are totally in the realm of a different possible collaborator.
Comment by Marcia Jensen — August 22, 2005 @ 1:45 pm