Microsoft Innovative Educator

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Monday, February 20, 2017

Collaboration vs Competition


This is a tough topic, my #CompelledTribe friends. And right off hand, I am inclined to say that I am not a competitive person. Really, I'm not. But I do like to push myself to be better and do better. For some reason this reminds me of good vs evil, and I'm sure that is not the case. It's deeper than that. More complicated than that. This Blog is Why my level of understanding is changing with each word I type!


I am truly conflicted by this topic. For so long, I have looked at competition as the evil and collaboration as the good. This reminds me of a topic that I discuss with my college students on "Obedience to Authority". In that unit, we read an article and discuss the meaning/feeling behind the words obedience and disobedience. As students share, we find that we automatically equate obedience with being good and disobedience with being bad. The same results, the same discussion, year after year. The article then presents us with the example of Hitler's followers who were obedient to his orders with catastrophic consequences. The other example that we discuss is civil disobedience, where people stand up against unjust laws and risk jail time (or their lives) for change. Positive change. Good change. And just like that, we realize that this topic is not an either/or proposition. It depends on circumstances. It depends on the situation. Sometimes, it depends on who is involved.


That's where I am with collaboration vs competition. Both are necessary. In my journey, I have also noticed a difference as teacher vs that of administrator. As a teacher, you will hear more talk about collaboration. That is what is expected. You are expected to collaborate with your team. Discuss ideas, share the load, and work together. Even in the job search to become a teacher, it doesn't seem as competitive (although I am sure there is some level of competition there). On the other hand, I have been 'on the market' trying to secure an administrative position and it seems super competitive. It honestly feels like a game of chess. And I don't play chess. I have no idea how. I find myself scoping out the competition trying to decide what they have that I don't. What do I need to change? Even when I feel that I am being the best me that I can be and putting my best foot forward, that 'edge' makes you start to second guess all of your good work. While it seems like a struggle at times, I am thankful for the new opportunities that have come my way. Again, I land in a place where I feel as though my only competition is me and doors continue to open for me to work with new people. At the end of the day, collaboration can be used to move you forward and so can a little healthy competition. In my mind, there's room for everyone, especially in education. I love the saying, "The plan is, we ALL make it." When we win, share, and learn from each other...kids win.

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