Tips for building and being part of a successful PLC

In my opinion the key to building and being a part of a successful PLC is Communication, Compromise, Listening, and Understanding. I know there are some teachers out there that love to work in groups but sometimes the groups we work in are just horrendous. People arguing, not getting along, only wanting to say their side and not listen to others, feelings of being pressured into a group they didn’t want to be in, and the list goes on. What I have learned though is it comes down to those 4 key things. Let’s break each down and see what you can do to improve your PLC and what you can do as a part of it. 

Communication is the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings. We all well know that teachers are very passionate about their feelings and love to share their ideas, but it takes open communication for a PLC to work. If you try communicating and people are shut off to the ideas or feelings right away then you won’t achieve anything. As well, if someone presents an idea or feeling and no one responds, then the lack of communication can get you nowhere. In order for PLCs to work , all the members involved have to be willing to voice their ideas , explain their thoughts, and be open to different perspectives .Think of a PLC group as a relationship. Relationships are built on trust, communication, and love. No different is a PLC.  If no one is talking to each other, you end up destroying the PLC. Yet if everyone feels open to share their ideas and feelings and is getting the same type of communication in return then the group grows and gets stronger together. Part of that communication then links to listening and understanding. . 

When a person openly communicates, they have expressed their feelings and ideas and it is now out there, but what comes next is the listening. There are always a few people in a PLC that might have an issue with listening, and what I mean by this is that they do “listen”, but their listening is to just make their point and not really listen to what the other person or people in the group had said. Thus it wasn’t really listening at all. The key part of listening is listening not to speak, but to understand.  Once this is achieved, a PLC can become a living and breathing entity whose only outcome will be growth not only within the PLC, but also within the teachers themselves.

One of the most important things to understanding is that everyone in your PLC should be aiming for the same thing, which is to help the students learn and achieve at their most optimal level. If you don’t understand an idea or feeling then ask purposeful questions to get down to what it is you didn’t know. 

Lastly, it comes down to compromise. We would be foolish to believe that everyone will agree with everything said in a Perfect PLC group (There is no such thing). However, know that there will have to be compromises to achieve the goals of the group. If we aren’t willing to give in and get through compromise then all that will happen is that we will hit a wall and nothing will be achieved. PLC groups are needed .  because never in the history of education, has there been a perfect teacher.  No teacher has all the answers and no teacher will ever have a curriculum that works every single year, year after year for completely different students. If you believe that then I must say you might want to learn to reevaluate yourself because to say this nicely, you are wrong.