Buddy Up!

Call them what you want - teammates, partners-in-crime, or dynamic duos - but use the buddy system and empower yourself to create change!

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The cool thing about this idea is that it doesn’t take ANY materials to launch, you only need a partner, which means it’s replicable in any school regardless of resources.

Original Idea:


Teacher Coach, Mike Poss, posted Atul Gawande's book, The Checklist Manifesto, as a "powerful reminder of the importance of communication and teamwork," which reminded me of a talked I'd seen on 99u.  In his talk, The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams, Keith Yamashita describes duos as, "the smallest atomic unit of trust."  Working along side a partner allows us to start small, test the waters, and get feedback along the way.  And from there we can scale up.

So, try this: pick one thing from your list of things you'd like to change next year, grab a partner, and use the design thinking framework to problem solve together.  Track your journey, and see what you learn along the way!

Questions/comments led me to this:

This makes me think about my own partnerships and the role they play in my life. Generally, I would say that productive partnerships take 3 forms for me:

1. I'm being coached 2. I'm coaching 3. We're learning together

I'm oversimplifying a bit here because point #3 is always a factor for me if I'm labeling a partnership as "productive."

This is also making me think more about my own intentionality when it comes to cultivating rituals and routines. For example, right now I am trying to develop habits around systematically tracking my thinking. As a result, I find myself asking friends and colleagues about systems which they use and have generated ideas around systems I COULD use rather than systematically testing strategies. By cultivating a system which helps me track my thinking and build upon previous conversations and ideas, I would also - conveniently - be working to create a culture of innovation. I think there is a link between innovation and communication. One part of innovation is being able to communicate the story behind (or the progression of) ideas. Without a record of both artifacts and reflection or personal commentary, that story becomes harder for me to tell, and often my ideas become lost.

Given that, I asked: Guild teachers, is anyone interested in buddying with me to flesh out the rituals and routines around the tracking of thinking?

While I didn’t receive any direct responses to my ask, by throwing it out there it became real - for me.  I couldn’t ignore it anymore.   

So I decided to start capturing my thinking - as demonstrated by my photos here: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B3sNMLlRtNECU3F0amF4Tjcyemc

And by this doc:


It was, it still is, a mess.

But then came this: https://medium.com/@norman_tran/open-love-letter-to-teachers-guild-852eb3a8ee1b

And it felt like a direct response to my earlier ask - a sign - from Norm.  Some quick back and forth, Norman helped me distill my idea:

trust -> vulnerability -> courage -> collaboration -> DT brought to life

Insights?   I revisited this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jr2i_s58SJmDFCJfQ44G5FLdyECo8i6J3QULgMKvaB4/edit

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Potential for Impact: Imagine this solution had near perfect implementation. To what extent would this solution bring about a culture of innovation within a school or classroom?

A lot! This solution would greatly bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 50%

Somewhat. This solution would somewhat bring about a culture of innovation in schools or classrooms. - 25%

Not much. This solution might help with other things, but I don't see it really bringing about a culture of innovation within schools or classrooms. - 25%

2. Feasibility and Fit: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: If this solution were available to me right now, I would be able to use it with relatively low investment. (i.e. money, time, or skills).

Strongly agree (this solution strongly aligns to my/my school's current capacities). - 50%

Agree. - 25%

Neutral. - 0%

Disagree. - 0%

Strongly disagree (this solution would take a big lift in resources to pull off). - 25%

3. Adaptability: I could imagine this solution working well in a variety of school and classroom contexts across a diverse set of needs.

Absolutely! I could see this working for a variety of schools and classrooms with different or unique needs. - 75%

Somewhat. I could see this working for many schools and classrooms, but it might need some adjusting to fit a broad diversity of contexts. - 25%

Not a lot. This seems like it might be better suited to only a few contexts. - 0%

4. Scalability: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: This idea could be adopted by an ever-growing number of teachers or students without requiring significant changes.

Strongly agree (this solution could easily scale without any significant changes). - 50%

Agree. - 25%

Neutral. - 0%

Disagree. - 0%

Strongly disagree (this solution would require significant changes in order to properly scale). - 25%

5. Desirability: Do you wish this solution were available to you right now?

1 - Not a lot. There's not a big need for this right now and/or we use something already that fulfills a similar purpose in my school or classroom. - 25%

2 - 0%

3 - 0%

4 - 50%

5 - A lot! There's nothing like this already and I'd love to have it in my school or classroom. - 25%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Erin Finn-Welch

Buddy Up thinking: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B3sNMLlRtNECWTBjUHJNc0RpT0k

Photo of Erin Finn-Welch


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