The Art of teaming…• One of the most important philosophies behind education is teaming.• In reflecting upon the 2009-2010 school year, how would you describe “The art of teaming” as it related to your individual team, not grade level?• What do you consider the major benefits of teaming?• What do you consider to be the major pitfalls or issues that have risen with the concept of teaming from previous years of experience?
The art of teaming…• For most, collaborating with peers is a rewarding experience that increases their individual moral and teaching experience.• Working on teams allows educators to brainstorm new ideas, seek feedback from colleagues, and to look for solutions to common problems.• Teaming is also a fantastic way to connect with students.
The art of teaming…• Teaming can also be a struggle or a challenge. It takes daily effort to have an effective team.• Each day teams tackle issues such as attendance, assessments, paperwork, parent communication, student rewards, daily schedules, field trips, discipline issues.• All of these issues, and more, are expected to be handled in a short amount of time with everyone getting along…
Advice about teaming• Teams need to talk: This is rule #1. The following tips are necessary, but begin with the critical rule. Meet as often as possible.• There’s more to a team than just a name:- Creating a team name helps develop a sense of unity and identity for teachers and students.- More critical to a teams success, however, is setting the right climate. Providing an atmosphere that allows for failure and risk is key.- Work together to establish rules and expectations. Remember students see many different teachers during the day. Keep it simple and consistent.
• Getting off on the right foot: To keep things fresh, this year teachers will sit down at the beginning of the year to establish team goals, to discuss core values, individual strengths, weaknesses, and philosophies.• Never grade papers during a team meeting:- Some may consider this an insult to their intelligence. It happens and is harmful to the team.- Team time is sacred. We all have too much to do. The best way to handle these challenges is to divide and conquer and approach them as a team. Look for ways to share the work load.
• Don’t waste time during meetings, set the agenda…- Keep it simple- Keep it focused on things to aide in student success.- Follow up with previous agenda items to determine progress.
Life Savers• Eating makes a meeting. Bring food!• Celebrate with other team members.• Share the work load• Great teams take time to build relationships.• Make positive contacts with parents of your team to build up support and trust of the team.• Have fun, make time to laugh.• Spending time outside of school helps. Go to a movie or grab some dinner. Also helps with communication.• Stay focused on students. Look for ways to celebrate student successes. Use team meetings to deal with behavior issues.
Teams Evolve• Teams evolve: They begin with polite, but guarded relationships. After a few months, they encounter conflicts, control issues, sometimes stagnation.- To learn to deal with these concerns, teams must establish procedures, learn to clearly communicate, and give and take feedback from each other.
Core values should drive the decision making of an Core Values effective team. What are core values? Here are some examples of core values: - All students belong to all of us. - All students and staff merit trust and honor. - Conflict is opportunity, and we will work towards resolution. Teams should focus on their core values because these beliefs help teachers gain balance and direction. It also helps you determine where to spend most of your precious resource – time. Is it best for our students?
All good teams need ground rulesand structures in order to progress.Some suggestions: Rotate meeting places. When you meet in other’s rooms, you will learn more about your colleagues as teachers and people. Set an agenda and stick to it. Agree on start times and arrive on time As a team, don’t meet every day. Assign different topics for different days. Ex. Monday- meet if needed, Tuesday- team calendar, Wednesday – administrative issues, Thursday – discuss student needs, Friday – Thematic unit planning.
Try to hold all parent conferences during team planning unless it is just not convenient for the parent. Celebrate achievements. Ensure that everyone is heard. No put downs or cheap shots. Commit to the fact that all of you are on the same side. Remain inviting, and emotionally neutral. (If you disagree, try saying, “It has been my experience that, “instead of, “How could you think that way?”) Keep team business inside the team.