This past week at our church service, our pastor told a story about a small village in Peru. This little village was torn apart from years of infighting and violence - almost like a modern day Hatfields and McCoys. The local pastor gather a group of villagers around the scripture which he placed in the center. The villagers stood around the scripture in a rather large circle. The pastor then asked the villagers to take a step forward. Puzzled, they look around and carefully took a small step forward not knowing what to think. The pastor then asked them to take another step closer, and then another step until they were standing shoulder to shoulder. The pastor then asked the villagers what had occurred. Silence fell over the villagers, afraid to speak up, until a little 11 year-old girl broke the silence and said, "we took steps together and now we are one close circle".
This message from the sermon rings true to the essence of collaboration. There are physical barriers (walls) and emotional barriers (hurt feelings) that prevent collaboration from occuring in our schools. Teachers can isolate themselves and their knowledge because of physical and emotional barriers. But what would happen if those barriers were torn down? What would happen is teachers stood around and replaced the scripture with a child?
As the teachers shared their ideas and collective knowledge, they would be able to find new ideas and ways to help that child. As they took a step closer to the child and better understand his challenges, they would continue to share ideas and their collective knowledge. With each step forward, more ideas and knowledge would be shared. We cannot expect any one teacher to have the answer to all the questions and challenges thrown her way. However, together as a group, we can use our collective knowledge, experiences and ideas to help each and every child! As teachers, we can put aside our differences, focus on the children, and work interdependently with one another to help out each other.
It definitely takes a village to raise a child and let's not be afraid to allow the village to raise the child!