Poteet ISD Sneak Peek
The Power Of A Team
Why Does This Matter?
- Strong teams within a school are essential to retaining and sustaining teachers. In schools with low staff turnover (even in challenging urban contexts) teachers report feeling connected to colleagues and supported by them. They also describe feeling that they belong to a team and fulfilling a mission together. The emotions that are activated in this kind of a context are those which keep us engaged in a difficult endeavor for a long time. Public education is a hard place to be these days; we need structures (such as strong teams) which cultivate our emotional resilience
- If a team is effective, then people learn from each other. They accomplish far more than would be possible alone. They inspire and challenge each other. An individual's strengths can be exploited, and we don't have to do the stuff we're not so good at. Again, this is an efficient approach to undertaking a huge project (transforming a school, for example) and it feels good
What Makes a Good Team?
- A good team knows why it exists. It's not enough to say, "We're the sixth grade team of teachers," that's simply what defines you (you teach the same grade) but not why you exist. A purpose for being is a team might be: "We come together as a team to support each other, learn from each other, and identify ways we can better meet the needs of our sixth grade students." Call it a purpose or a mission -- doesn't really matter. What matters is that those who attend never feel like they're just obligated to attend "another meeting." The purpose is relevant, meaningful, and clear.
- A good team creates a space for learning. There are many reasons for which those of us working in schools might gather in a team but I believe that all of those reasons should contain opportunities for learning with and from each other. I have met very few educators who don't want to learn. We're a curious bunch and there's so much to learn about education. So in an effective team, learning happens within a safe context. We can make mistakes and take risks and ask every single question we want.
- In a good team, there's healthy conflict. This is inevitable -- and essential -- if we're learning together and embarked on some kind of project together. We disagree about ideas, there's constructive dialogue and dissent, and our thinking is pushed.
- Members of a good team trust each other. This means that when there's the inevitable conflict, it's managed. People know each other. We listen to each other. There are agreements about how we treat each other and engage with each other and we monitor these agreements. There's also someone such as a facilitator who ensures that this is a safe space. Furthermore, in order for there to be trust within a strong team, we see equitable participation amongst members and shared decision-making. We don't see a replication of the inequitable patterns and structures of our larger society (such as male dominance of discourse and so on).
- Finally, a good team has a facilitator, leader, or shared leaders.There's someone -- or a rotation of people -- who steer the ship. This ensures that there's the kind of intentionality, planning, and facilitation in the moment that's essential for a team to be high functioning.
READ THE ARTICLE (BY: Alena Aguilar) HERE: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teacher-teams-transform-schools-elena-aguilar