In 2014, at the end of my first year of teaching at College Station High School, I penned this blog- http://amidoingthisrightteachers.blogspot.com/2014/04/it-takes-team.html
In it, I talk about the power of the department around me, the admin team, and my fellow UIL coaches. It was about a 3A high school units second year of existence, with just under 1,200 students and no senior class. I was teaching US History.
It is now 2017, three years after I wrote that, and much has changed. We are 5A, well over 1,800 students, and we've graduated two classes. I now teach Debate, Psychology, and Sociology.
And how I define team is very different. For one, there are more teachers, new admins, and for me, a new location. I've moved from the 3rd floor to the zero level, as I call it the "hole in the bottom of the school." I love my room, but I am no longer surrounded by my department. Or many teachers at all. There are four of us on that hall, two split time in a room, one is around the corner, then there is me. No one teaches my classes on my level, so I've got no level team.
While I am still very much a part of the team of CSHS, it has become harder to be in the midst of a team of teachers. At least physically. See, I have found that my team is redefined in a number of ways.
First, I have a team via Twitter. Our district Twitter chat #CSISDchat "meets" Tuesdays at 8 for encouragement and idea sharing- it has powerfully affected how I teach and lead on my campus.
Second, because my administrators saw potential in me, I was given the chance to be a part of the District's first ever Teacher Leader Academy. We (three other CSHS teachers and I) developed a risk taking opportunity centered around peer coaching and developed the idea with other teachers around the district. Again, encouragement and idea sharing. This year, my involvement in TLA opened the door for me to be on the Dream Team, an innovation think-tank of sorts for our district. More growth made available.
Finally, the most important new members of my team.
Yes, one of the most powerful teams I have found is my class full of students. I've learned to listen to their voice, their ideas, and how they want to learn. It's challenged me to create a new way to run a classroom, to design it, and to share content. When teachers (and admins) put together teams, we MUST consider the students.
In 2014, I discovered the power of a team at CSHS. Since that time, I've expanded and altered that team, just as our school has grown. My role on the team has changed, and my concept of what a team is has moved beyond the walls of my school to my district and beyond. And it is no longer just teachers and admins- it's students, too.
Much has changed since 2014, but this remains true:
Back then, I saw greatness in our students. I wish I knew then what I know now- there is power in their voice and in their dreams. What greater things could have happened if I'd listened more to students then?
I am now working to finish grad school, then hopefully attain a job in administration. It may be next year or years from now, but what I have learned in my four years at CSHS and in CSISD is that it takes a team- teachers, admins, students and community.
A team is more than the peers around you, and without them, we are never as excellent as we could be with them.
May I never take my team for granted.