My latest read is; Read, Write, Lead by Regie Routman. I highly recommend it to all educators. Her approach is very direct and thought-provoking. After hardly getting into the book, I was struck by this comment: “…for a teacher of writing who has a low-level of knowledge, looking at student writing samples and analyzing them can be mostly a waste of time; what the teacher can identify as strengths and needs is severely limited.”
I see the comment as a clear critique of the quality of teaching today. I presented this thought to my colleagues and received the following response from one: There is an overall degradation of not only language skills among some of our colleagues, but also a limited use of imagination to build/create/write/produce/act-out something unique. Students should be encouraged and feel it is safe to take risks when writing and the grammar/spelling supports provided with online tools at their fingertips help to alleviate some writing blocks which restrict “stream of consciousness” writing. She went on to say: This issue also underlines the need for collaborative work and support. I believe in mentoring less experienced teachers and am grateful they reciprocate by mentoring me.
There is the sound bite! “I believe in mentoring…they reciprocate by mentoring me!” The creativity, challenge, encouragement and strength resulting from teacher collaboration (synergy) can never be underestimated. It is imperative teachers are given the opportunity to connect, share and work together as they improve their craft as educators. Getting the ‘younger ones’ talking to the ‘older ones’ is how this collaboration can bear much fruit.