I’ve been using the most awkward of metaphors this year: the Inquiry Bus. In a new school this fall, one of my priorities is creating a culture of collaboration and inquiry with the staff. After reading
this summer, I thought I had a “road map” for this process. But as we actually start preparing for the trip I am realizing there’s a lot more to it than getting people on the bus and starting to drive.
So far, I’ve been able to spend time with teachers to talk about what inquiry and collaboration are and what my vision is for the next 2-3 years for our school to learn and develop as professionals together. We’ve talked about the difference between formal action research and district-sponsored inquiry projects and informal yet purposeful collaboration such as book groups and personal inquiry in the classroom. I want teachers to know that their level of readiness is respected, but I’ve also been clear with my expectation that all teachers engage in professional learning in some form – stagnation is not an option. Most recently, I created a Google Doc survey to get a view schoolwide of teachers’ readiness, areas of interest, current professional learning activities, and interest in formal projects.
Using my awkward metaphor of “the inquiry bus”, this is where we are as a school: we have two formal inquiry projects getting underway with district-sponsored professional development and framework, one in early literacy and the other around engaging digital learners. There are six teachers involved in these projects. The you’ve got their tickets and are boarding the bus! We have five more teachers curious about formal projects but who want to “watch the bus” for a while before deciding if they want to travel along. There are three more who aren’t yet comfortable with joining a group but are willing to learn more. And three are currently engaged in their own professional growth programs (such as Master’s projects) and are “in a taxi”.
So where are we going now? I’m definitely not driving the bus! I see it more now like a Flintstones bus where we all have our feet on the ground below and are going to work together to propel the bus forward. I’m looking at the framework and inquiry cycle for
as the road map, so our first stop is going to be scanning to determine “what’s going on for our students?”
I’ll try to keep up my “travel journal” to reflect on the journey. If you have travelled this road before, or are somewhere on it now, I’d love to hear your story too!