Am I a bad team player?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by catnfiddle, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 26, 2013

    Background: After five years of teaching juniors and seniors, I voluntarily moved to teaching freshmen in a specialized program with a much higher structure than I've ever experienced. Instead of focusing on one-on-one instruction with live teaching as a supplement (aka flipped classroom), I teach a larger live session every day in conjunction with my team. The student engagement and pass rates are higher than I've ever experienced. The kids are great!

    Here's where I'm a little concerned. I'm terrible at all the team building stuff other teachers in my program want to do with the students, at least in the way they want to do them. There are two teams in this program, and the decision was made (I was out of state for the meeting) that we would have team "names" and have competitions between them. Not my speed, so I didn't make a big deal about "Team Lions" vs. "Team Bears" (not the real names) in my classes the way math or social studies have.

    Here's where it gets uncomfortable. The more gung-ho teachers on both teams decided it would be a great idea that the first competition, all about our students completing a voluntary aptitude test, would result in one teacher on the losing team getting hit in the face with a pie. :eek: Even worse, the losing team was the one who would vote on which teacher would take the hit.

    This was so wrong to me! I argued that it would be much more dignified to make it a more positive reward about giving the WINNING team a PIZZA PIE, not the LOSING team a PIE IN THE FACE. Before I could fully argue my case, they decided to do both. They didn't understand how bad an idea this was, and that some students would deliberately skip the test in order to see one of their teachers get humiliated.

    I let both teams know, as soon as I was outvoted, that I would push the part about winning a pizza but would not be one of the teachers available for crust and cream in my hair. For a month, I was the one stick in the mud, which was made more interesting as students announced in live sessions that they would vote for me to take the pie.

    Long story short (I know, too late), our team lost, and suddenly two other teachers decided they also didn't want to be in the student vote. Neither one of the two had said anything, even when I spoke with them directly about my reasons for not participating.

    How can I move forward with my team teachers without feeling like I was a killjoy?
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    So did someone take the pie?

    For the record, I think it was a dumb idea. And in general I don't like such things and have made an a-- of myself in the past in showing my displeasure...but in my defense that could have been avoided if others hadn't moved forward with a dumb idea. ;)
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm glad I'm not alone! Yes, three teachers on the team decided to be "team players" (as one student continued complaining that he wanted to vote for me). However, the teacher whose idea it was jokingly told the students if they voted for him, he would consider that in his grades. His Title I teacher is getting the pie.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I've taken a pie in the face a few times before, but it was always done because my class either won a competition or met a goal. I can definitely see where a student might want to be on the losing side in order to have one of their teachers get hit with a pie. As for moving forward, could you suggest the next competition along with the possible reward?
     
  6. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    My school does things like this, but it is always on a volunteer basis. All of our admin participate and then teachers volunteer. So no teacher is pressured into getting the pie in the face (or whatever it is).

    I don't volunteer...I hate stuff like that!
     
  7. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Oh, wow. No way would I willingly go for that. No. Way. I don't think not wanting to have a pie smashed in your face makes you a bad team player. :)
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Nov 27, 2013

    I'd certainly be a stick in the mud over this one.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yeah, it's not my style either.
     
  10. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    I probably would have volunteered for the pie in the face in some circumstances, but not in any where students could get their desired outcome by failing. I wouldn't hold it against anyone if they said they didn't want the pie in the face. Your teammates are not being "team players" if they are not appreciating your concerns. The way I see it, there are some cases where majority has to rule, but this situation has many places where they can compromise. Good for you for being consistent from the start.
     
  11. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Nov 27, 2013

    Our school used to do the pie in the face to raise money for PTO. Several of us thought it was disrespectful and proposed a different idea.

    Glad you stood up for yourself.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm thinking I now have a little leverage to make an argument for future competitions to have a higher reward and lower humiliation factor.

    That being said, if the students voted for one of us to do something like cut off our hair (mine is well past my shoulders) as a wig donation, I'd do that. It would have the double benefit of giving students a goal and seeing that goal as a benefit to others.
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Several years ago, I volunteered to dye my hair blue if the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. I figured it was a pretty safe bet, but I would have gone through with it if need be.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    :spitwater:

    Ultimately though, it has to come down to the individual teacher choosing to do something... I would have no problem doing something humiliating like shaving my head or getting a pie in the face as a reward for a class... but not as a punishment for my class not doing well in it. At the same time, if I was told I had to participate, I might kick up a fuss. And so should other teachers.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Exactly my feelings, mt.
     
  16. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I've been in a dunking booth, gotten pies in the face, and volunteered to shave my head if the school met a fundraising goal. All of those were completely voluntary. I can imagine a situation I would not be comfortable participating in and I would hope others wouldn't say I'm not a team player.
     
  17. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I've participated in a dunking booth once, but it was completely voluntary and it was to raise money for a student club for a school in Delhi. I wouldn't do what you're describing.
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Oh, and here's another thing. We had a Thanksgiving "party" (which is where the students voted on the pie recipient) this week, and part of the fun was a virtual dance party. One of the teachers played one of those videos where you're supposed to follow the dance steps, and it was cute. The problem was that she got annoyed with the other teachers because we didn't instantly turn on our webcams (remember, I'm online), jump to our feet, and boogie to the music.

    One, I'm terribly uncoordinated. Two, I have been a nervous wreck about MikeTeachesMath as well as another student who was threatening to run away from home, so I wasn't in the mood to boogie. Three, when I'm stressed, I get horrible roseacea, which makes me very self-conscious about being on camera.

    The teacher announced to the class that the teachers WILL turn on their webcams and WILL dance during a virtual Christmas party. I'm so sure our 60-year-old science teacher is thrilled at the prospect, considering I've seen the duct tape over his webcam.
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    WILL dance? Who does she think she is?!
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    She's the one stuck getting a pie jammed into her face.
     
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Well, the pie has been jammed in the nominated teacher's face, but the other team of teachers decided to go after a second teacher and wallop him as well. They also decided to "trash talk" in their teaching sessions, which got back to my team. Both sides were growling at each other for a couple of days.

    Thankfully, I came up with an idea for very positive competition between the teams with reward only, no punishment. They seem to be going for it!
     
  22. TechTeacherVA

    TechTeacherVA New Member

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    Forget that. We don't get paid enough to take a pie in the face. Just say no, and if the admin gives you any grief for it, just say that you are focusing on implementing some new initiative in your classroom, and you don't have time for these kinds of things.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Thankfully, this was resolved some time ago, and it was decided that humiliation of the teachers is a very negative idea. We now have lotteries and prizes for the students.
     
  24. underthesun

    underthesun Rookie

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    I know you said this was decided months ago, but I just wanted to add my input, if that's alright?

    I was just surprised to hear that this was a humiliation thing for the losing team! All of the schools I went to (from Elementary up through High School) had little competitions like this, but it was always the winning team that would get to vote on who to get pied in the face. (Yes, our schools seemed to love things like dunk tanks and pies-in-the-face.) But when it was a reward, there was no incentive for students to do poorly on the judge activity, and the whole thing had a more FUN vibe, rather than a HUMILIATING vibe.

    ...I can't say whether the teachers and administrators (as often times it was the principal or one of the APs who got voted in) were all on board with the idea or if some were able to request not to be in the running, though. Obviously, as a student, I wasn't party to those planing discussions. But I don't remember a pied- or dunked- "victim" ever being anything but full of laughter and smiles whenever they were chosen.
     

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