Taking One for the Team

This blog title is a misnomer, because it’s really about helping to create a stronger team.  With the external pressures placed on teachers, both at the administrative and governmental levels, school climate can suffer.  Morale can plummet.  Let’s face it – we’re teachers, but we’re also human.  Very, very human.  We can’t always lessen the demands of the Common Core, PARCC assessments, Student Growth Objectives and the like.  So, what CAN we do?  We just DO it.  We rise to the occasion.   We add Common Core objectives, prepare students for assessments, measure growth.  Really, it’s what we’ve always done – it’s just a little (lot) (tons) more formalized in terms of documentation.  And this can drag you down.

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What else can we do?  We can be there for one another.  We really, really have to be a team.  Not just in grade levels, but school and district wide.  So, with that in mind, and after talking to my principal and secretary, I offered to create a team building bulletin board.  Something that will help bring a smile to our weary faces, help to connect us with our colleagues and emphasize that we are all in the same boat, but together we can keep it afloat.  (Should have gone with a sports metaphor, but I’m sorely lacking in those).

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This month each staff member was asked to bring in an elementary school photo of themselves.  I’m placing each on a sports-themed cutout, and when they are all up, I’ll add numbers.  During the first weeks of school, we can study the board and try to figure out who is who – just for fun.  I’ll create a numbered recording sheet which we’ll bring to the October faculty meeting, where the pictures will be presented on the Smart Board and all will be revealed.  The hope is that we’ll laugh and learn about one another, and then those good feelings of camaraderie will stay with us…and carry us through the less-than-great times that are always part and parcel of any school year.

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A few of us early birds are already there – that’s my fourth grade picture on the left.  It’s the best one of my elementary school years, so that should tell you a lot!  I wasn’t winning any cute contests – not even in the ’70s!

My principal suggested that we carry this activity over throughout the year, possibly posting “Did You Know?” information, teachers’ favorite quotes and more every two months or so, and then share the results at faculty meetings as a way to bring us together.  It’s something that many of us are committed to – building a stronger team.  Because there is always room for improvement.  It’s not that our school was down for the count, but we’re ready to go the distance and knock this year out of the park.

(I actually had to google sports idioms, ’cause I’m a sports idiot.  But I can still be a team player!)

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