Sunday, December 6, 2009

Teaming is Hard Work!

From the Apple
You bring up so many feeling that I think new teachers have - trying to fit in even when you are new and trying to be a part of a team. Not an easy task!

Unfortunately principals don't have a crystal ball when they put teams together. Sometimes they put people together that just don't meld. Sometimes they put people together because they know that they really need each other but... teaming really takes work! Being the new person on a team is always hard because the other members sometimes have relationships - very deep relationships. They have found a way to work together and adding a new person means that everything changes. Teachers can be pretty famous for not wanting to change!

First of all, I would suggest that you really try to LISTEN. The people on your team really do know things that you don't. They have had several years to figure things out and you really could learn from their experiences. You may not always agree, but you should listen.

Second, I would continue to engage your teammates. Ask questions respectfully when you don't understand decisions. Ask if something has been tried before and why it did or didn't work. Get as much information as you can before you make a judgement. When you do make suggestions, don't worry that they get changed. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you quit caring about who gets the credit. It doesn't really matter whose idea it is. It matters what is best for kids. The rest, believe me, will take care of itself.

Lastly, some teams are simply dysfunctional. You may be on one of them. If that's the case, seek out other people in the school that you can trust and collaborate with. How is the Reading Coach or another beginning teachers or another teacher that teaches on your grade level or the Media Specialist? In every school there are people who naturally find each other and really enjoy working together. Just one "friend" can make all the difference. Just don't burn any bridges with your own team. You certainly don't want to be known as the "Drama Queen!"

When all else fails, keep your eye on the kids. That's why you wanted to be a teacher and that's what you will take with you this first year - memories of the children, your first class. Remember that you are on an adventure and you will learn a million lessons this year that will make you a better teacher next year. On a bad day, just remember to count your blessings!

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