Hello dear friends! More than likely it’s happened to you. You’ve been on a team or maybe know of a team where the tension is always so thick – you could cut it with a knife. You do everything yourself, run your own copies (after making sure the coast is clear like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible), write your own lesson plans, and bite your tongue every time you are about to share something because you know it won’t be received well. “Toxic Teams” can be found all too frequently. If you have found yourself here, I am sincerely sorry.
Good news – it doesn’t have to be this way.
I have worked with many beautiful kindergarten and first grade teams – and that picture up there is my current team – I love them dearly. Things for us aren’t always necessarily perfect – and it would be silly to think they could be. We are people – people who get sick, have and are having children, are severely lacking in sleep, manage our homes, have second jobs, have fluctuating hormones, and pretty significant caffeine addictions. But we do love each other – we talk to each other – we appreciate each other – we pray for each other.
Benefits of Teamwork:
- Efficient use of contract hours and less time spent at school after hours.
- Each individual getting to do MORE of what they are GOOD at and support where they struggle.
- Accountability to stay on track, stay positive, stay up to date.
- Someone to have your back when – you are late, need to use the restroom, have to run to get a sick child, forget to do something, miss a meeting (IT HAPPENS), get emergency sub plans ready for you.
- Going to work is more fun.
- Support when a student, parent, issue, etc. is particularly tough.
- GROWTH – both individual and professional GROWTH.
Building a HEALTHY Team:
- Say goodbye to jealousy – celebrate yourself and each other for the strengths that you all possess. Each of you have special skills: creativity, lesson ideas, teaching math, teaching reading, teaching writing, tech skills, time management, people skills, behavior management skills, etc. Recognize those strengths and solicit help, acknowledge each other, and appreciate each other.
- Talk to each other – When you think a hallway display, a lesson, classroom management, etc. are awesome GENUINELY compliment each other. When a teammate does something for you be appreciative – SAY THANK YOU! When an issue arises where someone’s feelings have been hurt talk to each other – one on one – without talking to someone else first. GOSSIP is TOXIC!
- Create sweet little rituals – my team takes turns buying each other stickers – it’s a very sweet little act of kindness – usually each month or season whoever gets to target or the dollar tree first picks up a little book of seasonal stickers for the team.
- Work together – my team doesn’t do EVERYTHING exactly the same – we are all very creative individuals. We don’t all teach EXACTLY the same way – but we do plan together. We share our ideas and methods of teaching and sometimes try out something new. Pride is a fail-proof way to ensure that you never progress as an individual – learn from each other! Often one of us will CREATE a resource, another will develop LESSON IDEAS, another will create a POWERPOINT, someone else will make and share a DATA RECORDING sheet – you don’t always have to use what someone else makes – they don’t have to use yours, but when they don’t DON’T GET OFFENDED.
- DON’T TALK ABOUT EACH OTHER – you may think that it won’t get around, but it always does either through the gossip train or by demeanor.
- BRING EACH OTHER COFFEE – okay, that one isn’t a necessity but it doesn’t hurt! Haha!
- Pray for each other: This year, one of my dear teammates started asking how she could pray for us. It wasn’t easy at first, but throughout the course of the year we all began praying for each other and it created a genuine bond of caring for one another.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do compliment and thank each other Don’t criticize
- Do talk to each other Don’t talk about each other
- Do say thank you Don’t presume
- Do give credit to ideas Don’t steal
- Do share Don’t expect
- Do forgive Don’t hold grudges
- Do keep it about the kids!
Thank you to my beautiful, intelligent, creative, lovely team for letting me use their picture in this post! You are all ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! xoxo!