We Are Hand in Hand
Burnout in schools is a huge problem. Everyone from school leaders to staff members to students feels it.
In response to burnout in education, there’s a lot of buzz about social-emotional learning and wellness programming. SEL and wellness interventions have done a lot to help schools be more healthy, joyful communities. But there are countless other opportunities to combat burnout right in front of us each and every day that we mostly overlook: our ways of working.
How does work get done in your school system’s classrooms, meeting rooms, and community gatherings? Do people tell each other what to do? Or come to collective agreement about goals and strategies? Do people turn to each other for guidance, support, and collaboration? Or is everyone encouraged to figure things out for themselves? Do the members of your school community feel part of your school’s successes? Or do people mostly feel valued and celebrated based on their individual achievements?
Hand in Hand was born out of burnout. It is an ongoing inquiry into how we can do good work in ways that feel nourishing rather than depleting. There is much more to learn, but the headline so far is this: we can experience more joy, have greater impact, and stay in the work longer when there’s less “me” and more “we.”
Researchers are coming to similar conclusions. A growing body of literature suggests schools that embrace “collective leadership” are better able to navigate the increasingly complex challenges they face (Cooper, 2022; Eckert, 2019).
At Hand in Hand, our diverse professional experiences have given us the opportunity to get really good at 6 capabilities that benefit schools:
training and professional development
teacher and school leader coaching
curriculum and program design
Our expertise in these areas allows us to meet our partner schools’ practical needs.
What sets us apart, though, is not what we do, but how we do it. We engage with students, families, teachers, staff, and leaders in ways that celebrate and grow the seeds of collective leadership that can already be found throughout every school system. One client said to us, “I felt closer to my team after this experience. I don't think we would have had the opportunity to share these kinds of views with each other, have these open raw conversations with each other without doing this." Statements like this further strengthen our belief that we can all make progress together when we learn, work, and lead collectively, hand in hand.
Find out more about our work and some of our favorite projects in this interview Amara did recently as part of Learning Co-CreatED’s LIVE interview series!
Cooper, M. (2022). Everyday collective leadership: Teachers enhancing education and care through goal-directed joint activity. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603124.2022.2052757
Eckert, J. (2019). Collective leadership development: Emerging themes from urban, suburban, and rural high schools. Educational Administration Quarterly, 55(3), 477–509.