The Two Most Valuable Tools in Your Teacher Toolbox | TeacherSherpa Blog

The Two Most Valuable Tools in Your Teacher Toolbox

joshavatar-279x300 Written by Josh McCusker, TeacherSherpa Blogger

I’m proud of plenty of the lessons I’ve taught. I’m also proud of two particular lessons I’ve learned in return: the importance of listening and collaborating.

Great Teachers Have These Two Things in Common - Teacher SherpaSome of my lessons started as good ideas, stayed as good ideas as I planned them, and worked out pretty much as I thought they would. Other times I made adjustments mid-class, usually because of a student suggestion (inadvertent or not). Some of my lesson plans were variations on tried and true tenets of teaching; others were taking those principles and spinning them on their head.

The one common thread between the majority of my most successful lessons is that someone or something outside of my direct experience inspired them. Many were born from a lesson another teacher taught and shared with me, others from an idea I gained while hearing another teacher talk about their lesson.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in no field is that more clear than education. If you are like many of my colleagues, one of the things you look forward to most at Professional Development, aside from the celery sticks platter, is bouncing ideas off of other teachers. At every roundtable I’ve attended, where we get a chance to talk to a team lead at the school or district level, the top request outside of more time, period, is for teachers to have more time to collaborate with more teachers. 

Planning sessions help, but as valuable as they are, they are limited to the people on our team. We all benefit from gleaning ideas from three or four others, so imagine if you could collaborate with an entire community of teachers. How many valuable lessons could you place into your teacher toolbox when you connect with teachers from different subjects and grade levels, districts and schools, and even states or countries?

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