My teaching has been transformed by being a part of a meaningful collaboration that has been maintained weekly for the past 4 years. With 7 current members across 5 different schools, we work together towards our common goal of helping students learn IB physics.
We are committed to staying in alignment with each other because it enables our collaborative community to be more powerful. Therefore, we make decisions by consensus, because of our commitment to alignment, and because it challenges what we take for granted. We have developed explicit reflection protocols to support our continuous improvement as a team.
We have discovered that participating in this kind of high quality group is a sustaining form of professional development, and we believe it has the power to retain quality teachers in the classroom.
This initial IB physics group case study proved transferable. I applied the lessons learned from our IB physics collaboration to co-start a successful second collaboration of about 20 teachers across 13 schools in my district in a reformed physics course for students who are below grade level in math or English.
The IB physics group has spent time identifying and thinking deeply about particular practices that we feel would transfer well from our collaboration to various contexts. I hope to empower others to start or strengthen a collaboration by sharing our experiences. (co-authored article "The Tale of a Successful Collaboration" found here: ow.ly/GHBgg)