Who is on your team?
Many educators think:
- others teaching the same grade, are on a team.
- those working at the same school, are on a team.
- others graduating from the same university, are on a team.
- others on the same lunch shift, are on a team.
- others sharing the same dismissal duty, are on a team.
While teaching, you’ll find yourself on many teams.
This is a very good thing. I hope you realize that different teams, with different members, will also have different expectations for you. You will find that the conversations you have with those you work with during dismissal are vastly different than the team you have lunch with every day. Although you and the others you work with are all well educated professionals, the ways you interact will be dramatically different depending on the activity, the place, and the purpose.
When joining any team, it’s best to know something about this group of people and what your position within this group is expected to be. When teachers are new to a school, the first big thing he or she should know is; Where to park?
I know this sounds trivial, but knowing where to park is very important. In each school I’ve taught in, teachers have “their parking spots.” If you see an empty space in the parking lot, you know immediately who’s absent because of who usually parks there. I’ve seen a few too many teachers get bent out of shape because a new teacher has taken another teacher’s spot.
Find a trusted friend in the new group and ask questions. What do you need to learn right away to feel like you belong? Remember to ask questions, take mental notes & jot down sticky notes when needed. Learn what is expected of you as a new member of each team.
Teaching can be very stressful, so you must remember to play. Play a little every day. Find enjoyment in the task at hand. Have you noticed something interesting, silly, or thought provoking? Tell others. Challenge members of your team to a game while you’re working together.
Grade level teams –
Challenge each teacher to create a team name (First Grade Finders, Third Grade Thunder, or The Fourth Grade Pioneers)
University affiliation –
Celebrate big games with university colors, mascot, and banners.
Develop a secret code. Each time a student from different grade levels are called out because a parent has arrived, preform a specific action. If a kindergartener is called, clap one time. If a first grader is called shout out, “I like Dr. Seuss.” If a 2nd grader is called ask, “Who likes apples?” These are just examples. Develop these with one or two other people on this team. Change things up when people begin to figure out what you are doing.
There are a variety of things you can do that could be construed as play while you are working with your team. Don’t forget that these people may be fun to hang out with when not working. When away from school and the formalities of the work environment, you must still remember that these are people you work with. Do not say or do anything with team members which may be inappropriate.
These teams are accountable to someone. Who do you report team success to? Who do you go to for additional help or resources? Share what your team has learned. You could share a new technique that is working with students. You might share a new quieting routine that is working at dismissal. You might even share some of the ways you play with team members that have helped lift spirits or just made you laugh.
Sharing should be encouraged and celebrated. When students hear that the adults are sharing great ideas and successes, they are happy to hear about your achievements. When students are surrounded by people who value and appreciate others, they will imitate this same behavior.