Collaborating is both assertive and cooperative -- the complete opposite of avoiding. Collaborating involves an attempt to work with others to find some solution that fully satisfies their concerns. It means digging into an issue to pinpoint the underlying needs and wants of the two individuals. Collaborating between two persons might take the form of exploring a disagreement to learn from each other's insights or trying to find a creative solution to an interpersonal problem.
Isn't this who we all what to be?
I really want to collaborate. I enjoy it, because everyone wins. I try to do my best to collaborate when I have the opportunity--I'll speak up with my own ideas and suggestions but also give feedback.
Teaching has such great collaboration potential, being creative and professional with your colleagues, to benefit us and the students too. Collaboration builds community and esteem, and I also believe it improves instructional quality, in several ways. First, teachers get ideas, lessons, and units from colleagues, tweaking it to fit their own style. Second, when you know you're working with other creative people and need to share, you want to step up your own game. So then the grade students improve, and then the positive atmosphere spreads, 'infecting' other grades and eventually the whole school. And hey, test scores might even increase!
This is why I long for real professional development and real common planning time. When we have time to collaborate as professionals, everyone wins!