Mentoring Matters: The Power of Collaboration
Sixteen years ago, the Linda/Cathy show made its debut and we have not been the same since. Our friendship and professional relationship was in no way hindered by the fact that we teach two different languages. As we say in all of the presentations we are fortunate to do together, our teaching has been transformed since we started collaborating. On occasions, too many to count, one of us has one half of an idea and the other completes it to a full idea. In the moments when one of us has a creative epiphany, the other takes a “brass tacks” approach and devises the logistics for successful implementation in the classroom. The result of this collaboration is a richer experience for our students and a level of professional trust between us that gives us each the courage to move outside of our pedagogical comfort zones.
Being able to help other professionals, even in the smallest way, has been an incredibly rich part of our careers. By sharing our successes, we can support a new teacher or help an experienced teacher revitalize his/her classroom. Stepping across the hall to ask another teacher for some input on an idea or an activity can very well be another step in a relationship that not only enriches your own teaching but that of your colleagues as well. It is also almost inevitable that the students in your building will benefit as well, as they compare notes about their respective adventures learning the target language. There is the added bonus of them talking about their language classes outside of the classroom walls!
We do not exist in a bubble, thus making collaboration across the hall and across the state all the more vital and important. Just as so many of us have that certain colleague who sustains us, WAFLT and our state language associations would not thrive without the input, work, and ideas of professionals who come to offer and to receive support, ideas, and leadership.