Collaboration is such an important part of teaching. As an outside provider to all schools we serve, KidsTek Instructors have to make a sincere effort to introduce themselves and build relationships with school staff. This is especially important for our high school instructors since they teach during the school day. Emily Tow, KidsTek Senior Instructor, created her own collaboration group with other “non-core class” teachers at Florence Crittenton High School. She linked up with Christine Watkins, Parent Education Teacher, and Donica Snyder, Art Therapist and Family Advocate Manager, who both work for Florence Crittenton Services (the non-profit that works with Florence Crittenton High School to provide resources to teen mothers.) Since Emily, Donica, and Christine all work for organizations outside of Denver Public Schools, they are the perfect match! Emily shared, “During remote learning, it’s incredibly helpful to hear from other teachers about what methods have been successful for their students. Plus, we all use different methods and tools for teaching, especially when teaching online, so it’s great to learn about new tools and share what I know.”
Each week, the three teachers meet via Zoom and discuss different obstacles they have faced, tools they have used, and tricks they have learned through the process. Two platforms that are heavily used at Florence Crittenton High School are Schoology, an online learning management system, and the Google Suite of productivity software. Since there are so many extra features on both of these tools, teaming up to learn them all is the best approach. During the first couple of collaboration meetings, these two online tools have been the focus. This connection is not only good for professional growth, but it is also good for each teacher’s well-being.
Emily acknowledged how important it is to stay connected during this time, “Obviously, it’s helpful to hear from other teachers to help me improve my curriculum and methods. But even more than that, being able to connect with other professionals who are experiencing the same difficulties and anxieties helps ground me. It helps me to remember that everyone is going through this together, that everyone is struggling, and that I do have resources to help me when problems arise.”