“Writing Out of the Day”
Kerry Baird, April, 2022
It has been said that “competition makes us faster, but collaboration makes us better.” In a field in which we easily interact with a minimum of 150 people a day, one would think that collaboration would come naturally and regularly. Sadly, this is not the case.
In fact, it is often easy to cocoon with our students and celebrate the moments that are very particular to our individual classrooms. Collaboration can be scary and hard. What will my peers think of me? How often should I speak in the brainstorming and editing sessions? Will I sound like a know-it-all if I am excited about a topic or an assignment that I cover well? Will I seem socially dysfunctional if I become extremely quiet while I unpack all of the brilliance shining from my co-workers? Ugh, the anxiety! Recently, I joined with two co-workers to discuss what we do that is unique, how we inspire thinking and discourse about important and relevant topics, and how we aspire and implement strategies that allow each and every student to be seen and heard.
We began by writing as individuals, then we shared our ideas and created a template of how these ideas connected for the purpose of creating a proposal to present at the 2022 NCTE Conference. The theme, ¡Sueños! Pursuing the Light!, not only encouraged us to discuss how we amalgamate pedagogy, professional development, and classroom practice, but it also allowed us to share our own light with each other. Our morning meetings were both inspiring and validating as we discussed both our cognitive goals as well as our hopes and dreams for our students. When the proposal was finished, I felt affirmed by our intentions and impact, and this transformed into an exciting energy in my classroom. Collaboration definitely made us better; light and hope were restored in a rather dark time for educators and those who come into our classrooms to be educated.
Kerry Baird has been an English teacher for the past 24 years, the last five have been enjoyed at Monroe-Woodbury High School in Orange County, New York. Her areas of special interest are teaching in the affective domain, exploring literature and topics related to acculturated stress, reading and discussing antiracist literature, inspiring creative, historical redress writing, and guiding young authors to change the world.