Contemplation and Collaboration

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Two weeks ago, I found an amazing TED Talk that has really stuck with me.  It was Susan Cain talking about “The Power of Introverts“.  I would not consider myself an introvert, but what Susan had to say about taking time for contemplation is what really jumped out at me.  You see, as an instructional coach, I do a lot of collaboration with teachers, groups of teachers, and administrators.  That’s one reason I love my job – working with and serving others.  On the flip side of all of that collaboration, however, is finding the time for contemplation.  I love this definition for it shows me the importance of finding quiet time to mull, muse, and ponder over all of that comes my way.

Collaboration is wonderful.  I could not teach without having others to collaborate with.  My colleague, Michele  (@Mld13White) and I used to joke that each of us served as the other half of each other’s brain because we talked, shared, and collaborated constantly.  We would show up in each other’s doorway with a “what if” or a “what do you think about” question on a regular basis.  I would not have survived my first years of teaching with Michele!  We both brought our own creativity, practicality, and way of thinking to the world our world of  teaching, and together, we were better.  As important as that collaboration time was, I also knew that I needed time to mull over the things that we talked about.

15 years later, I’m still the same.  I love to collaborate, yet I’m realizing how much I need that time to contemplate.  If you give me time, I can be more creative with all of the thoughts that are swimming around in my mind.  Collaboration is a key ingredient in teaching, and I’m understanding more and more that contemplation is also a key ingredient.  Teachers need time to talk and they need time to think.  We hear so many ideas, read so many books, articles, or blogs, and we explore so many teaching methods that it can be overwhelming.  I want to take the time to step back, stop and think, and I want to be sure I give others that time as well.

In any coaching situation, there are many ideas being shared all at once.  It’s during those still and quiet moments when the thought-dust can settle that we find answers that we may have been searching for in the brainstorming stage.  I want to take the time and give others time to sit, think, and contemplate as we work together.  How about you?  What value do you see in contemplation?  When do you do your best musing and mulling?  For me, it is often during my drive home or first thing in the morning as I’m getting ready for work.  Share your thoughts below and be sure to watch Susan Cain’s TED talk!  I hope it means as much to you as it did to me.  Stay curious!

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2 thoughts on “Contemplation and Collaboration

    1. I agree! Time to collaborate AND contemplate is important for students as well. While working with others is an important life-long skill, thinking for yourself is, too. This might be a future blog post.

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