Build a longer table (of collaboration) 

I’m a believer when it comes to collaboration. It’s one of the reasons I actively seek collaborative experiences such as ExtendmOOC. 

A year or so ago, I completed the image below as part of an early round of the Collaborator module. I was thinking of who would be at my table from a work perspective.

To be honest, it was one of the first things I did with Ontario Extend and I loved it in part because of the metaphor of the table. A table is where you break bread together with people you share values with, it’s where discussion happens, and where ideas generate and blossom. It’s where you get pushback (hopefully civil!) that allows you – if you’re open to it – to sharpen your understanding and hone your own thinking for continuous improvement. 

Our house, with three teens, is an open door. Their friends revolve in and out all the time and there’s always food, always conversation. A favourite story is my husband asking a youth which of our teens he was visiting. None of them, was his reply. He was the guest of a guest. When asked why he was at the table, he responded, well, you said time to eat, so here I am. So we sit and share and talk and laugh. And hopefully everyone gets something out of the evening. We had so many guests that my father in law – who made our original old pine table – made us an extension. I’m of the mind that we should always be building a longer table. 

The same is true metaphorically. My work table is about open pedagogy, empathy, compassion. Also about fairness, equity, student choice. It’s about assessment practIces, active learning, creative classrooms. It’s about inclusivity, diversity, belonging. All this…and so much more. I’m learning every day. Sharing every day. 

All of this begins in a place where you feel welcome and safe. Come on in. Have a seat. 

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