Friday, April 22, 2011

Week 27: Being Part Of The Team

I’ve always been very lucky as a teacher to work with group teams of teachers. At my first job I worked with four other brilliant band teachers in a music department of ten. This is a big deal since most music teachers are one of three in the school and are sometimes the only music teacher around.

While this was a great group of people of amazing professionals, I didn’t really click with this group of people. When one of them would make a joke everyone else would laugh and then I would laugh a couple seconds later and when I made a joke . . . it was just a tad awkward.

At my next job I was part of very different team. As a special education associate teacher I taught under the supervision of a special education teacher with four other associates.  First off it was a great professional situation. I had never worked with elementary school students and these other associates had amazing insights into special education students that made ever day a learning experience.  And the special ed teacher I worked under took an immediate interest in my professional development and was a great mentor.

Oh yeah, and they got my jokes, and I got their jokes and when would never go a day without hysterically laughing at least three times a day. It was a beautiful combination of a professional team combined with comforting friendships under the leadership of a great special education teacher that made look forward every day to coming to work and hanging out with these wonderful people.

When I started this year at my new school I expected to be part of the music department as a great team and it turned out that way.  It’s a group of people with wide variety of experiences and ideas that works towards similar goals. We also a lot fun sharing the day with each other. While I’m grateful to be a part of such a great team what is truly amazing is the other teams that have welcomed me as a member.

The 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade teams (I teach all of these grades) have all welcomed me in with open arms. Even though I’m not officially part of these teams and I don’t regularly attend team meetings, these teachers talk to me and treat me as a team member. I’m not the music teacher off in the corner that just takes their kids twice a week.  I’m a valid educator in their minds that contributes to the goals of these teams just like every other teacher.

Sometimes it’s kind of overwhelming walking into a faculty meeting and choosing which team to sit with but it’s awesome knowing that I have so places in this school I belong.  I am so grateful for this sense of belonging.  Yes, it is the individuals that make me feel welcome but it’s being inclusive as a group that speaks to the depth of these teachers. It’s one thing to preach these kinds of values to students and it’s another thing to actually practice them.

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