By Kristen Gierman
There is no doubt that one of the most powerful things I did to develop as an individual and educator in my first year at Elk Grove was connecting with others in the building. Thankfully, the atmosphere that our ITF/DTCs created provided me the opportunity and space to build valuable networks to expand my ideas and teaching practice.
Partaking in collaboration did require an initial nudge, but it generated enormous value at practically no cost to me. While I understand that time is one of our most precious resources as teachers, I would argue that the transmission of new ideas and perspectives that took place in moments of collaboration far outweighed my fear of “misusing my time” in that way.
In exchanging ideas and listening to the suggestions of others, I not only got to see my ideas improve but also received tangible evidence about how my thoughts could be put to use elsewhere in the school.
This year reaffirmed my belief that good ideas do not develop in isolation or in the confines of our own practice. Rather, they come from a network of connections that are all around us at Elk Grove if we challenge our ways of thinking and recognize the potential that exists in connecting, learning, and sharing with others. There is value in the unlikely interactions that occur when clusters of individuals with distinct skills and passions overlap. It is these combinations that carry the potential to spark innovation and can drive us all forward.
As I wrap up my first year, I want to take the time to thank those who have given me the opportunity to work in conjunction with them and challenged me to grow. You have served as a clear reminder of the reality that there is a small difference between doing something and doing nothing but the two have wildly different outcomes for our students and us!