The walls are coming down. Yes, I’m talking about the walls in our classrooms. Teaching used to be profession of isolation. You walked into your classroom at the bell and didn’t step out until the end of the day. You chatted with your colleagues, maybe did a little planning, and then headed home for the evening. Teachers didn't always talk about what they were doing in their classrooms, and rarely did anyone get a chance to step into another classroom to see what was going on behind that closed door. Staff meetings were more about logistics than growing as professionals.
The walls are coming down. Professional development, professional learning communities, grade level teams, data teams, and other collaborative structures have started to bring the walls down. Collaboration is as important as the ability to teach children. Districts go to great trouble to create professional development plans for their staffs. Administrators work to create schedules to allow teams to meet and work together. Teachers carve time out of busy days to plan and collaborate.The walls are coming down. The internet may be largely responsible for the greatest change of all by providing opportunities to grow our own professional networks. Thanks to Nings, Twitter, blogs, and other internet sites teachers are able to collaborate in ways not possible until now. My own professional network consists of teachers at my building, in other buildings in our district, in neighboring districts, in other parts of the state, in other parts of the United States - even in other countries. It is refreshing to hear voices from other places: to know what is happening in classrooms around the world, to hear new ideas for supporting learners, to find new ways to use technology.