Thursday, November 15, 2018

There's no such thing as a team of one

I have many opportunities to join many teams. I also have many opportunities to stand with those teams, against those teams, or stay neutral. I have always realized that there is no such thing as a team of one, and have tried to do my part with regard to any team I am apart of. There's nothing worse than serving on a team that benefits many including some who rarely to never contribute, support, or take part in the team. That's why I try to contribute in ways that I can.

There are ways that we can all work to support teams, and there are ways that we cannot take part too. We have to be mindful of what we do and how we partake as a team member.

The Family Team
When a family loves and cares for one another, it's natural to desire to serve one another and be a vital part of that team. I believe that most people look for ways to loving commit to and care for the people in their family team. Family teams are not always those who are related to one another, but sometimes those you choose as your family--the people you love most and take care over.

Work Teams
Work teams vary considerably, and there's typically lots of opportunity to be apart of multiple teams of people at work. Often work places have recreational teams such as softball teams, bowling leagues, or Friday night dinners. Then there are teams of people who commit to specific jobs, causes, or initiatives. And there are teams you are required to be apart of, teams that are actually part of your job description.

Community Teams
People belong to all kinds of community teams too--community groups that make change, enjoy each others company, and share passions and interests. For some, there's plenty of time and interest to get involved in these groups, and for others, particularly working families, sometimes the time is short for these groups particularly if they don't involve your children's activities.

Team Considerations
The teams you commit to and what you do for those teams matter. There's lots to consider when joining a team. First, I always consider the mission of the team--is the mission well-founded, does it do what it intends to do, and is it an equitable, inclusive team. I shy away from teams that are more superficial in nature, teams that are formed with a mission in mind, but teams that don't use the kind of inclusive, equitable, honest process possible, the kind of process that invites voice, choice, collaboration, and positive development.

Good energy matters when you join a team too. At times, I've had to step down from teams simply because my interest or energy for that team has diminished--I don't have the good energy needed to be a good team member. Transportation and other life factors can limit your opportunity to serve on a team as well. If you have an old car, you may not be able to attend meetings far away or if your budget is strapped you may not have the money for long distance travel.

Team Contribution
Sometimes the team you belong to may forward a cause or effort that you are not passionate about, and you have to consider your role as a team member in that respect. Sometimes you simply decide to follow the lead of team members because your long history with those people demonstrate to you their commitment, care, and good decision making--you may not be passionate about a current objective, but you know that they've been there for you when you were forwarding something they were passionate about, so you lend them your support.

It's important to analyze your team memberships to make sure that you are contributing to the teams that support you. Do you pay the dues, attend the meetings, follow through with their requests, and contribute your skills and abilities or do you take, take, take instead.

What teams will you choose?
At this time the teams I am most committed to include my family/friend team, my amazing grade-level team, the school team, the union team, my PLN, and the democratic team. Most of my activity revolves around my grade-level team, family/friend team, and union team. As a democrat who actually is not a big fan of the two-party system, but instead a fan of the democratic ideals that support greater access to the rights and services that enable good living for all people, I play a small role of making contributions, sharing my opinion and support, and potentially serving on committees in the future. Similarly while I am a member of the school team, most of my activity in that regard is focused on the grade-level team I work with and our good mission of working towards a robust learning/teaching program for every child and family in that team.

Nurturing Teams and Teamwork
As I think of my part on teams, I am cognizant of my role in helping students be good team members too. There is lots of opportunity to help students work together to create, problem solve, and complete projects. This is a focus of my upcoming efforts in science and math teaching, efforts that will help students when we embark on our great STEAM projects and end-of-year events in the spring.

Time for New Teams
Sometimes teams stay around for a long time without recalibration, revision, or refinement. Those teams often lose their strength and focus. All teams require a time for reflection and efforts to re-look and revise the team mission, process, routine, and focus. For example, when team membership and efforts wane, it's integral for the team to re-look at its practices and assess if those practices are inclusive, modern, mission-based, valuable, and/or inviting. Does the teams' work result in greater solidarity, camaraderie, care, and good work going forward?

Team, like all integral aspects of life, requires reflection and revision now and then to stay dynamic and purposeful. Similarly, we have to revisit our own roles as team members to decide what we need to do to better our efforts, commitment, and care in this regard. Onward.