Sunday, June 27, 2010

Collaborating with Dale

I remember touring the high school that would eventually hire me for the first time. I was walking down the hall the the principal and saw in the distance Dale. I had been a camp counselor with Dale for three summers and he had told me about the job. I yelled to him like it was camp. Later I learned that he was nervous about that. He wondered if that kind of excitement to see a colleague was going to hurt my chances of getting hired. I was oblivious and they hired me anyway.

At summer camp there is no option but to collaborate. Days are packed with activity and if you share a responsibility with someone you have to trust that they will come through. Our third summer at camp Dale assigned activity leaders. He would come up to me after assigning classes and tell me that I was leading an activity I did not really like to lead, but at least I was leading it with him. That made all the difference. Who I was leading with was more important than what we were leading. From there we could figure it out.

That fall I was assigned to teach the same preparation, earth science, as Dale. I think he thought his work was done when he handed over a copy of his lesson plans from the last few years to me, but one night a month into school I called his home with an idea. We both got excited about teaching the way we had counseled. We were up late word smithing the activity and gathering supplies. Slowly over the next year the course changed. New ideas, new strategies, new goals. The trust and the workflow that we had honed as camp counselors flowed into the classroom. We felt comfortable in our roles, each using our strengths to compliment each other.

Dale helped set my career off on a creative path. Our cooperation helped me to realize that the profession I had entered required using the best of my skills and find someone to help where I fall short. Our collaboration mixed our talents and really modeled what what God created us to be, creative unique individuals working in community to better the world.

Posted via email from Jim's posterous

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