Teaching should not be "Survival of the Fittest"
As a teacher, it can be hard to escape the political aspects of the job. As a mentor of mine once cleverly stated: "Choosing a career in education is choosing a career in politics."
These politics are not making our profession any easier, and they tend to increase pressure on teachers to produce positive results.
Right now, though, I want you to take a moment and STOP.
While a lot of this depends on the team you are a part of and the school culture you belong to, I have seen many teachers who are competing against each other, rather than sharing ideas and working towards a common goal of helping students.
If you have ever heard of the "crabs in a bucket" analogy you will understand what I am getting at. If you put two crabs in a bucket, instead of helping one another out they will continually pull each other down. This ends up sealing the fate of both and neither ends up successful.
Co-plan to co-serve
When teachers work together (and I have personally witnessed the power of this) it is amazing to see what they can accomplish. When the focus turns from "this is what I do" to "this is what we can do to help students" the results are amazing.
The most successful teaching teams I work with also bring in the expertise and insight of the support staff, as well as the intervention specialists in the building or on the team. When you start working with all stakeholders with a common goal it can create an environment and an atmosphere that can truly move students and increase learning.
Step out of your room sometimes
Don't be afraid to step outside of the 4 walls of the domain you call your classroom. Try to visit other rooms, ask for advice, and discuss what other teachers are doing and see what could work for you. When you have time with your team or grade level group use it to make an impact.
Not everything that you share or learn from seeing others work will work for you or your style. Honestly, most of it might not, but if you can gain one thing that helps your students or increases your effectiveness as a teacher, then isn't that worth it?
We are all here for the same reason; to help students succeed. While sometimes the cloak of competitive evaluations, state testing, new initiatives, and high pressure data and results scrutiny makes it hard sometimes, never forget what we are all here to do: help kids.
When there is a common goal and everyone is working towards it, it actually becomes more difficult to fail. So next time you're sitting in a meeting (you might be in one right now..seriously pay attention and read the rest of this later, I don't want you to get in trouble), focus, contribute, listen, and work together to have the greatest impact on students you possibly can!
I guess all I'm saying is don't be like the crabs in that bucket. Learn something new from your colleagues, and make some changes that work for you.