One part of teaching that nobody really talks about is the value of those whom you work with, either on a daily or weekly or monthly basis. The adults in a school are just as potent in the recipe that makeup a school’s climate. You want to feel as though your colleagues are professional, reliable, share the same educational values, and are easy to communicate with.
I’ve been blessed to have consistently worked with strong teachers, especially those whom have been in my own department. I’ve run across my share of bristly personalities, but for the most part I’ve been able to come to a mutual understanding and respect for their positions in the overall productivity of the school.
I value both the supportive and angelic coworkers that I’ve had who have never given me a reason to raise an eye or crinkle my brow, but trust me when I say that I’m also grateful for those who have challenged me, brought tears to my eyes with their words and actions, and have tried to make themselves look more powerful at my expense.
The difference between having a team that you can count on and simply having, what I like to call, a “door neighbor” is the difference between crawling and running a marathon. Sure you’ll get to the finish line in both cases, but one is far more efficient than the other.
You know you’ve got a good coworker when…
1. You see them putting in as much effort and devotion to teaching as you do.
2. They are always willing to learn or try something new and innovative in the classroom.
3. They share
their lunch what they’ve learned with their colleagues.
4. They’re consistent – with the students, their work ethic, their word.
5. They inspire you to do your job better.
Right now, through those trials and life lessons, I’m in the best place that I could ever imagine. I’ve been the new girl at the school who has had to rely on the kindness of strangers and left out in the cold because my department members had been taught through their own experiences to be protective of their territory and anybody new is a threat. I’ve been called upon to represent the entirety of my grade level and/or department and had to stand up and speak out, learning that just because you speak loudly doesn’t mean that you’ve been heard. I’ve been entrusted to help bring along the new girl in the school, opening up my treasure trove of experiences, resources, guiding without interfering, and measuring the times in which to allow my experiences to guide or their own trial and errors. I’ve learned that nobody should be written off as invaluable; those who seem to be inconsequential can end up being your number one ally. You never know where you will find gold.
Because when this is more true than anyone will ever know:
you need to be able to rely on those who come out of the wringer right next to you.