Vanilla Ice: the flava of collaboration

7th December 2018 at 00:05

The lyrics of Ice Ice Baby might be an unconventional source of wisdom for teachers, but, to me, it sounds like Vanilla Ice was advising us to put the brakes on what we’re doing sometimes, and instead explore exciting new collaborations.


Heavy workload for teachers means it’s tough to take a breather and focus on something new. But what if, by doing so, you could inject enthusiasm for learning into a new community? What if you reminded yourself why you love teaching? 


As teachers, we all have
the tendency to be blinkered, seeing only what’s happening in our own school – but the benefits of collaborating with colleagues from other schools, authorities or even countries shouldn’t be ignored or underestimated.


Hear what young people have had to say about recent collaborations. After one special maths project (Google the “Oban Number Challenge”), a student told me: “I don’t usually love maths, but that was amazing.” Listening to the feedback inspires me to keep grabbing opportunities to work with colleagues – wherever they may be.


So, teachers of the world, remember:

Stop: be brave enough to shelve the routine stuff for a minute.

Collaborate: be creative, as you explore new ideas with new colleagues.

Listen: be convinced it’s all worth it, as you hear pupils talking excitedly afterwards about that off-the-wall idea you took a risk with.

Chris Smith is a maths teacher and Scotland’s 2018 Teacher of the Year

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