Collaborative Brilliance – Is your Professional Learning Community/Network Working?

More times that I can count, I have heard teachers say, “My PLC/N does not work!” I find myself thinking about that statement quite often, so I wanted to share my thoughts about it. We have to spend time and ask ourselves if the systems we have in place are working. If something is broken, we need to reevaluate and make revisions. Professional Learning Communities/Networks are only beneficial when they result in shared visions, collaboration, and support within the community/network.

I believe that we could be better at embracing the multi-generations of professionals in our schools. Do you notice and ponder the range of different age groups or even generations amongst you and your colleagues? At the moment we have four different generations of educators teaching at the same time in our nation’s classrooms. We have baby boomers, and generations X, Y, and Z. There are differences amongst the four generations, but similarities too. I think about the cultural and societal influences that have molded, motivated, and made them who they are. What an opportunity to share visions, collaborate, and support one another during our professional journeys.

Baby Boomers are the demographic group born approximately between the years 1946 and 1964. By definition they have a strong work ethic and aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work. They are self-assured, competitive, goal-centric, resourceful, focused, team oriented, and disciplined.

Generation Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. They are generally defined as individualistic, self-reliant and entrepreneurial. Gen X is technologically capable, goal-oriented, and philanthropic. Gen Xers look to make differences in the world but also place a high value on having a work-life balance.

Generation Y (the millennials) born during the 1980s and 1990s, are defined as the generation marked by increased use and familiarity with communications, social media, and digital technologies. They have easily used technology from a young age, and are typically thought of as being comfortable with interacting on social media for a significant portion of their socializing. Wow, what an awesome range of skills to use together to envision, collaborate, and support one another.

Generation Z (also referred to as the iGen) is made up of those born after 1995, referred to as the post-millennials.  These young adults are just beginning to join our ranks.  As Gen Z members are still largely kids and adolescents, many of their adult characteristics are yet to be vetted, but early indications are that they are increasingly self-aware, self-reliant, innovative, and goal-oriented.

What an amazing time we are in, where we can have all of these generations come together and create a boom, while harnessing the definitive qualities of each! Ask the following questions in your next PLC/N, and see what responses you get:

  • Why did you choose to be a teacher?
  • What is the impact you want to have on the students you teach?
  • What concerns do you have when it comes to putting energy into sharing visions, collaborating, and supporting one another?
  • What could stop your PLC/N from having success with this exercise?

Make your professional thoughts matter. Four generations working together to teach students… wow! Take the opportunity presented by the experience represented in your PLC/N and choose to make your PLC/N work well.

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