Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Don't MAKE me stop this car!" or working together as a team

Teamwork!  We are all challenged to work together as a team throughout our day as teachers.  As preschool teachers we have an even bigger challenge to work as a team throughout the day. We work together with teacher associates in the classroom, consultants for children with special needs and co-workers.  Our programs are always at their best when the teams function well together! 

In fact, have you ever noticed how many classrooms with multiple adults in the room can run smoothly even with very little communication between the adults as to what needs to be done minute by minute.  And, then again, there are some classrooms that struggle to run smoothly even WITH much communication between adults on a minute by minute basis.  There is a clear difference between classrooms that seem to have a top heavy focus and those that function as a team.  What I mean by a top heavy focus is the TEACHER in the classroom is seen as the only adult who structures the school day, holds high expectations for the children and basically runs the show.  When the classroom functions as a true team, multiple adults are seen as leaders, the children are seen as competent components of the team and the children learn to count on and develop strong relationships with multiple adults in the classroom.

When there is a strong sense of teamwork between the adults in the classroom, it is easy to see this spread to teamwork and a mutual sense of respect with the children in the classroom.  When children see only one adult as the leader, they often will function best only when this adult is in sight.  This can also impact how well a class does with a guest teacher when the classroom teacher is sick or out of the classroom.  When the children see the classroom teacher as having little respect for the other adults in the classroom, why should the children extend respect to these same individuals?

For the most part, teamwork simply means collaboration and respect within your own classroom.  Sometimes, though,  this means stepping up and putting the needs of the preschool PROGRAM before the needs of you as an individual teacher!  Because, while your own classroom is your most important concern, working together to improve the program benefits everyone!  Focusing positive energy in the direction of activities or improvements for the preschool program can have a huge impact! 

Daily, we also have the opportunity to work as a team with parents.  All parts of the team need to be seen as competent partners, all offering varying strengths and talents.  At the most basic level, this also means speaking to parents about other adults and teachers in the classroom and program with RESPECT and acknowledging that others offer talents and strengths that you may not have.  Again, our programs are always at their best when the teams function well together!

It is AMAZING what a strong team of teachers and parents can accomplish when working together.  The program as a whole benefits, the children benefit, the parents benefit and the teachers benefit!

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