Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Value in Spending Time with a Colleague

As a male teacher it is usually rare that you get to work with another male teacher on the same team. The teaching profession is, undoubtedly, inundated with females. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing at all, but it does need to be mentioned to help my point. I'm lucky enough to work with another guy on my team, and if you ask me, that really makes a difference.  It's not like we are trash-talking others, being loud, and talkin' 'bout the ladies, it's more like we are able to share a similar perspective on teaching, and on life in general. The conversations we have are quite valuable, and there's a sense of unspoken accountability in the air.

In my school, there happens to be quite a few male teachers. We have a special bond, I would say, and that makes our working environment quite unique. Whenever the school talent show rolls around, you will surely see us spending more time together preparing for our skits. Though, that only happens once a year, and bumping into my fellow "male" teachers is sporadic at best - mostly consisting of a "hello" while passing by one another in the halls. Of course, I get to hang with my teammate daily, but I really do value the opportunity to hang with one of my colleagues after school.

I recently had that chance last week. Another colleague and I were able to meet for a coffee after school. This wasn't a collaborative meeting, a workshop, or a school-mandated function, it was just a couple of buddies chatting about life. And it may sound strange, but I feel like that time was more valuable to me, as an educator, than most workshops I attend. There is a special power, or value, in spending time with a colleague. There is so much gained when there are no expectations or formalities. I encourage more teachers to make the time to hang with their colleagues after work. It's amazing what can be accomplished!

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