This is the second year in a new, county-wide program that organizes grade level teams into Professional Learning Communities.(Check out info about PLC's here.) As such, I have a year of collaboration with my general ed cohorts under my belt, and a perspective that includes the results of changing my teaching. I have seen the value of really focusing on our teaching objectives, and of the power of analyzing my teaching and my students'learning.
When I look carefully at how and what my students have learned (primarily through test item analysis, but also by taking the time and energy to look hard at kids' writing products and other performance assessments), I am forced to take responsibility: responsibility for the methods, materials, and assessment strategies I choose. It's no longer a mystery..... MOST gaps in their achievement are a reflection of my ability to meet their learning needs.
Moreover, a culture of sharing ideas and expertise has penetrated our teaching teams. While a generosity of spirit was common for some among our faculty, it's now an expectation.... a norm.... that we will break through the isolation of the classroom and borrow and share and build on others' ideas. Very cool.
Yes, my intentions were always honorable: student achievement was always my goal. It's just that now I am on a path that really takes me there. With "alittle help from my (teaching) friends".