Welcome back to my tips for first-year teachers blog series. This week we are going to talk about getting to know your teammates.
We spend so much of our day at school; that’s just the nature of our job. I arrive at school usually between 6:45 and 7AM everyday and most days I don’t leave until about 4PM, or sometimes even later. Since we do spend so much of our day at work my suggestion to you is to get to know your teammates! Whether it’s a team of eight first grade teachers or, maybe you work on a team like myself, where it’s made up of third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers– GET TO KNOW THEM!
It’s so important to take the time to get to know these people on a personal level, not just professionally. I can remember from my first day in my classroom, a hot August day in 2009, a few of the teachers on my team invited me out to lunch. I was nervous to go, but those three teachers that I went to lunch with that day are still co-workers of mine, and that lunch was so important to me that I still talk about it 11 years later.
I’ll be starting my 12th year at my school in August, so I’ve worked with a lot of different teachers, but I’ve gotten to know each group. A few years ago two other teachers and myself joined a Skee-Ball league. Every Tuesday night we would enjoy a pint of our favorite beverage and we would play competitive Skee-Ball. Yep, that’s right, competitive Skee-Ball. Our team name was Cloudy with a Chance of Skee-Ball and it was a blast. I’ve also played on kickball teams with some co-workers and even did a little bowling with them. It was so nice to get outside of school and get to know these wonderful educators personally. We knew about each other’s lives, our families, our friends, where we are going on vacation, etc.. And then, when we came back to the classroom and into our school building, it made us such a stronger team.
Getting to know these men and women on a personal level has made me a lot more comfortable with going to them and asking for professional help when I need it. I could go to my co-workers, judgement-free, and ask them, “What do you think about this lesson?” or “How can I improve this lesson?”, or even “How do I respond to this parent?”. These are the people that you’re going to be with probably more than your own family. So take some time to get to know them, ask them about their families, ask them about other friends, about their passions/hobbies. Get to know them and it will make going to work each day so much more enjoyable.