Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Strategies for Success: Join the Team

In just about every school I have worked or visited, I felt an obvious link between organizational health of the school and the sense of teamwork that existed among faculty, staff, and administration.  As a former athlete and coach, I wholeheartedly believe in establishing a team mentality.  Teams help create cohesion and shared purpose.  Teams also help share the burdens.  I had a coach in college that would tell us, “If everyone does a little, nobody has to do a lot.”  I find this true in schools, especially when we ask teachers to perform so many functions:  teach a full load of classes, be an advisor, coach, sponsor clubs, chaperone events, etc.

There are those, however, who do not appreciate their role as part of the team.  Typically, these are the ones who prefer to focus solely on THEIR classes and when asked or invited to take part in other aspects of school life, they either find a reason to be excused, find a way to be a non-factor in the activity, or simply refuse to accept their responsibilities as part of the team.

When a team is functioning at its highest level, their is an additional reserve of creativity, energy, and productivity that cannot be replicated by individual efforts.  In other words, the whole become greater than the sum of its parts.

Independent School Management, Inc. offers these laws of teamwork for boards of trustees, but I would say that these same items can be applied to the faculty, staff, and administration as well.  The list comes from John Maxwell’s “17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.”

This is not to say that being a great classroom instructor is not or shouldn't be the primary responsibility of a teacher.  What this does mean is that the image of an extraordinary teacher goes beyond the classroom.  Great teachers’ presence is felt and their contributions to the school exceed their outstanding instruction.  These teachers share their passions an talents in multiple areas and, thus, inspire us all to excel.

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