Collaboration among educators is not optional

Teaching is a team sport. Although individual educators may teach individual classes, the relationships and collaboration among adults in a school will heavily affect the experiences of everybody’s students. Ignoring this need for facilitating cooperation comes at a steep cost.

The just-released first section of the provides striking data to illustrate the urgency of building substantial time for collaboration into all teachers’ schedules. The average time allotted per week for collaborative activities is only 2.7 hours. In schools that make the effort to do more than that, the rewards are tremendous. Here are a few eye-catching survey stats examining differences between teachers who work in higher- versus lower-collaboration schools:

Beginning teachers have the opportunity to work with more experienced teachers.

Higher collaboration teachers: 95%

Lower collaboration teachers: 59%

My principal’s decisions on school improvement strategies are influenced by faculty input.

Higher collaboration teachers: 92%

Lower collaboration teachers: 48%

At my school, I strongly agree that the teachers, principals and other school professionals trust each other.

Higher collaboration teachers: 69%

Lower collaboration teachers: 42%

Satisfaction with teaching as a career

Higher collaboration teachers: 68%

Lower collaboration teachers: 54%

I am very confident that I have the knowledge and skills necessary to enable all of my students to succeed academically.

Higher collaboration teachers: 89%

Lower collaboration teachers: 81%

All or most of my students who have a sense of responsibility for their own education.

Higher collaboration teachers: 56%

Lower collaboration teachers: 35%

Wow. And the last two are really the kickers.

It’s incontrovertible: students benefit when their teachers are participants in a supportive, active learning community. MetLife also reports, “Sixty-seven percent of teachers and 78% of principals think that greater collaboration among teachers and school leaders would have a major impact on student achievement.”

It’s no secret that this works. Infuriatingly, 69% of teachers “do not believe that their voices have been adequately heard in the current debate on education.”

The cue to wring hands is… now. Or we as individual educators and citizens can work alongside MetLife to raise the profile of this urgent need. We must be heard!

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