I would like to start a discussion on the topic of collaboration in your classroom…and I figured that that should include ALL grade levels – so I am placing this in GENERAL EDUCATION. Here is the set up: I just recently ended a 12 week maternity leave. About the 3rd week I was called into the principal’s office. She told me that she was very happy with my performance and mentioned a number of things she was pleased with. But then she mentioned about setting short term goals. Ummm…what? She went on to say… (I’ll cut to the chase) In our grade level (kindergarten), there were a NUMBER of times when aides, support staff, and assistants came into the room. Well, I guess I was “abrupt” in working with them and they had their feelings hurt. The principal went on to say that “here at _____ we treat all of our staff with the same level of respect when working with them. Aides are the same as teachers.” Etc. At first, I was shocked! I certainly didn’t cut anyone down or belittle them (even checked with others to see if they saw that…and they not only said no, but were surprised anyone WOULD say that). The principal gave me a few pointers, told me to discuss collaboration with my sister/partner-teacher, and check back in with her in a week. I did…and I think things went better (actually-I believe I figured out who the persons who complained might be (we had a VERY, VERY large support network)- and I especially worked to talk one on one with them and treat them with even MORE respect. The principal was well pleased with the results… so I guess I hit it on the head. Now it’s a while later…I have left the school. And I had time to reflect. Am I abrupt with people? I try not to be…but I certainly am a person who cuts to the chase and talks with honesty. I don’t believe I’m rude…but… What I DID think that might have had to do with things was that here I was (for the FIRST time) being a LEAD teacher with a support staff coming into the room. There were directions to be given and information to share in a relatively short period of time. Did I give orders instead of suggestions? I don’t know. But, even past that school, I think this is something I need to be aware of. SO…. Here is the question/topic: How to you communicate in circumstances like this? How much to you tell and how much do you collaborate? How much do you let whoever do whatever, and how do you nicely say – this is what needs to be done today…now go do it? How DO you work with support staff (remembering that this is a lead teacher asking)? Those of you who ARE support staff…have you had this happen with you? What would you have rathered? (Any examples would be graciously appreciated.) I want to GROW here. I admit when there are problems…and want to improve myself where I can.