As the seeds of this school year begin to germinate and we mentally and physically begin to prepare for the learning journey ahead, I've been thinking a lot about how teaching in the 21st Century really is NOT the isolated activity it once was. Partnerships and cooperation on ALL levels is now desired and in the near future - will be REQUIRED.
I guess the root of my own thinking is in the ICT - Integrated Co-Teaching Model classrooms that I "push into" for reading and writing support as well as my own three ring classroom where three literacy specialists each take students to "their" corner and try to keep the noise to a low roar. Another impetus for my thoughts may be the need to look beyond what we KNOW and LIKE towards assuring common standards and assured learning experiences for all students in our learning communities / schools.
When I think back, I remember teachers who were considered "great" because of exceptional projects or field trips or "units of study" they did that made their classrooms special. While innovation and and finding ways to engage thinking is still at the root of good teaching, parents, administrators and peers now put a much higher value on teachers who understand and create environments that foster learning as a partnership between students, parents, and other teachers.
I guess we are becoming "partners" in educational communities in a manner similar to the partnerships that we strive to build in our own lives outside of school.
I wonder if the qualities of a "great" teacher in the 21st Century might more closely resemble the qualities of a good partnership, "Congress" or marriage? In my thinking, it might just be that kindness, respect, laughter and the ability to ignore each others' quirks might well be the way to work together in ANY partnership!