Do you feel like you have had the chance to form relationships with your coworkers?
Let’s be honest for a moment and talk about our colleagues, your grade level teammates more specifically. Your teammates can make or break you as a teacher. When you work with wonderful people you often feel wonderful about yourself and your school, but when you don’t get along with your teammates it can make work a nightmare.
There are some colleagues that you can instantly bond with. Maybe you already knew them from outside of school or maybe you share a common thought process that makes you instant teaching besties. If you are able to form these instant bonds then count yourself lucky, take care of your work friends, and carry on, but not everyone is this lucky.
I have been incredibly fortunate in that I have had some of the most amazing teammates a teacher could ask for. Some of who I would consider to be my lifelong friends I met through teaching. I was pretty spoiled sailing through the years with this great group, but then one colleague kind of tried to break us up.
It was only a couple of days before school started one year and due to enrollment changes, we got a new teammate that moved from another grade level. At first, I was really excited because this teacher had an outstanding reputation for being an amazing teacher and their unique way of reaching all students. I thought it was going to be amazing to swap ideas with them and grow together, and at first, it was.
Then something shifted. A couple of months into the school year things started going all wrong for our team. The original four of us weren’t as close as we used to be, we seemed to have kind of split into two sets of two. We used to all eat lunch together, but that had ended too. Our new team member seemed to be the only one that got along well with everyone, and frankly, it was depressing because I really liked all five of us. Team meetings were awkward and we didn’t seem to have the free-flowing idea sharing that I had loved so much.
After way too long of this uncomfortable feeling had gone on, a change had to be made. I started making a more conscious effort to build or rebuild relationships with all of my teammates because frankly, we needed one another. This split up thing was for the birds. I started with our new teammate since they were who I knew the least and then extended my efforts to our whole team. After about a month of really trying to make things work there was a noticeable shift. We were getting back to that place of collaboration that we had begun the year at and it was wonderful and I was a much happier teacher.
Happy Teachers Build Relationships with Colleagues
Form Relationships by Starting with the Odd Person Out
Form Relationships by Talking it Out
Form Relationships by Sharing Triumphs and Defeats
When it comes to teaching there are a whole lot of defeats, but they make our triumphs that much sweeter. Come together with your teammates and talk about what everyone is struggling with. The adage two heads are better than one isn’t around for no reason. In reality, four or five teacher brains can accomplish monumental feats. Put your pride aside and ask your teammates when you need help. It humanizes you and allows your teammates the chance to shine.
On this same note, share in triumphs. Our team liked to start our weekly PLC meetings with each person sharing something that was rocking in their classroom. This served two purposes. The first being that it started our meeting on a positive note and kept our thoughts in a positive direction. The second being we knew who to go talk to on the team when we were struggling. Odds are it is the exact thing our teammate was finding success in.
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