Sunday, December 05, 2010

Team Work

I believe  in team work,  everyone should working together for the common good.   Being part of a school means being part of a team.  It means working with kids who need help.  It doesn't matter if you are the teacher of record or not.  It means the success (or failure) of a child is not dependent upon the work of one person, but the work everyone together.

This whole idea of added value teacher ratings is contrary to the notion of team work.  It is now beneficial for a teacher to try to clear their classes of irksome and difficult students.  This way they can  make sure their statistics, the primary way they will be rated, will be good.  When an announcement is put out saying there are seats available in a class that is lower than the class someone is teaching there will be a rush to drop students into these classes as doing so guarantees higher passing percentages, at least to the ones doing the dropping.  (A child with an average of less than 20 will have difficulties succeeding in any class.)

In addition to clearing classes, there is also the issue of providing additional help for students.  Suppose two students, one in teacher A's class and one in teacher B's class need a little extra help.  The student from A asks B for the help.  B has no incentive to offer this help because doing so might give A better results, hence A appears to be the better teacher.

Sports teams have their star athletes, the ones who win the trophies and bring in the crowds and they get paid the most.  But, the guy who sacrificed to help this guy win his game is not penalized for doing so.  Besides, teaching and school are not sports and while working as a team is imperative, all the team members must be treated as equals.

I guess I am ranting here because of Packemin's latest DOE status.  We have been and still are a great school.  Several administrators have been stressing individual teacher statistics above everything else and this simply does not help the school.  While I am the first one to say these school ratings are just magician tricks to help the Bloomberg administration do what they want--close down all big schools, we are caught in the middle and must do everything we can to protect our little place on earth.  And, we can better do that by working together, looking out for the school and not for ourselves.  Mr. AP always says "We are here to teach children."  We need to do just that and teamwork is an important part of the process.


Ricochet said...

I wrote yesterday about Holland Reynolds, who is the ultimate team player. She struggled to finish the race. She crawled the last few feet in order to finish. She finished 37th in a pack of 37. She was severely dehydrated and was carried by an official to the EMTs when she touched the finish line.

But, by finishing she wrapped up 1st place for her team and for her coach. The official let her finish because he could see the want.

She had no hope of earning anything for herself - but she pushed for the team.

And, you're right, most teachers (at least most in my school) are not team players. I try to be.

Anonymous said...

Many many years ago teachers were team players and solidarity had meaning. Then as new teachers came in they started playing up to principals and everything changed.

Anonymous said...

There is very little if any social learning taking place in our schools; I remember a lot of play and interaction with others. At least, we had exposure to other kids and their varied ways of approaching new situations. The children (and plenty of adults) of today are too plugged in to figure out how to deal with or to communicate effectively with others. That is how it was so easy to kill the human aspect of teaching and boil it down to a set of numbers that represent all those kids we teach or, at the least, try to reach in some way. I have already seen a much younger teacher try to get an older teacher in trouble; there was zero collegiality on the part of the younger teacher. This type of behavior seems to be accepted these days. In the "old" days where there was much more teamwork and collegiality, the younger teacher would be shunned by colleagues. Now, it's a badge of honor to appear self-righteous and all about oneself as an educator.

Anonymous said...

There was no SOLIDARITY in my former school. It was all out for themselves, and pointing a finger at another to deflect from their own wrong-doings.
I have to say most of this conduct comes directly from the administration. Administrators need to set the example of a positive and strong culture in a school. If its not set, kiss everything goodbye.

Anonymous said...

Teamwork was always a hallmark of professional behavior at my school, as long as you're playing on the "right" team. You made a great point, MissGingie. The environment where educators thrive because open communication is encouraged is set by the administrator, much like the environment we create in our classrooms. When those not on the "right" team are marginalized, much is lost in terms of possibilities and creativity. That's always the problem. There are the haves and the have-nots, and always will be. I think most of us fall into the latter category.

Pissedoffteacher said...

My AP is great at discouraging any kind of team work.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous, Playing on the right team comes into play as well too. Principal where I used to work was great at enabling teachers against other teachers. There are a lot of younger teachers there who are 'eager' to make themselves look good and sell anyone out.

I've always said, 'what comes around, goes around."

Anonymous said...

If the more experienced teachers are suppose to help the less experienced, why is there a rating system that pits teacher against teacher. Eventually the more experienced teachers are going to say: ok, my averages are compared to others in the department, so, it is not in my best interest to help the less experienced teachers.
Does this make sense?