Team Problem - So Need Help!!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by skittleroo, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Ok I will really try to keep this brief.....{correction, sorry its not:blush:}
    I will be going into my 2nd year of being lead teacher for my team. I have taught for 9 years but 2 years ago came to my current school. Apparently the team that existed when I arrived was a bunch of complaining, do the minimum teachers. Test scores have risen literally from 29% passing on TPRI to 86% in the last 2 years.(And this is in a recognized school). Yes - its correct, not a typo!

    My team consists of 5 teachers: me, another teacher who HATES our grade level but is a fairly competent teacher, another great teacher that is leaving, and 2 that ...I'm sorry pretty much suck - one doesn't want to be there and the other really struggles professionally. I feel like I am the lone ranger on the Titantic!!!!! Problem is admin thinks things are going better than they are, but we will sink if I can't find a way to get us headed up.

    I need some ideas for motivating my team members. They either don't want to plan or come with no ideas. I feel like I have to nag them to bring things for planning. I have never worked with a group of teachers that cared less for their jobs...... They are nice people, but either want to be in another grade or just somewhere else completely. I just wind up up frustrated trying to get them motivated.

    I did start using a weekly agenda to keep us more on topic for planning meetings - otherwise it turned into "how I hate doing this" mantra. The agenda does help.

    ANy other useful ideas??? ANyone else ever work with a group like this???? What did you do??? I am desperately looking for ways to make this next year better....:help::help::help:
     
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  3. Mrs. Rubble

    Mrs. Rubble Rookie

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    I feel your pain! My teammates see common planning time as a time to complain about one of three things: children, parents, and administrators. It is really disheartening. Hoping that you get some wise advice on here.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Can you start some kind of rational building system. Like, when a teacher brings a great idea, you give them a little note saying so. Or when a teacher goes above and beyond, give them something.

    Then maybe you can enlist your administration. Maybe they would let you draw a ticket once every month for good parking, admin to teach a class...
     
  5. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I like the idea of writing little notes so I will definitely try that. I do email those kinds of praises - maybe a hand written cards would be better.

    Any other ideas anyone - for motivating and/or holding us accountable???
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Give them something specific to bring. A lesson for teaching cause and effect. The more specific the better.

    Maybe invite the administration to a couple of meetings.
     
  7. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Yes we use the agenda - we "sign" up for areas we commit to bringing stuff for and that has helped. Prior to me - everyone just shows up to talk.....

    Admin does come in every so often unannounced.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    It's hard when you have a team not wanting to be there.

    I think that you are doing what you need to try to keep people responsible. Maybe have a binder with a list that they sign to explain why they aren't prepared for the meeting.....
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Thanks mopar for all the ideas!

    eewww, maybe I could have them sign off on the agenda showing what info/ideas they brought. I want to remain positive. I absolutely HATE the idea of monitoring other professionals - not my job.... But I could see having everyone sign indicating they brought what they said they would/asked to bring. Good documentation and a reminder that oooppps I didn't follow through...
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I like the signing on the agenda. It also gives you something to file for when the administration do come to the meeting.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I know it's not helpful at all-but I have been in your shoes and I can commiserate on just how frustrating it is. I was very excited for our meetings at first-we could collaborate, make things better. And after several weeks of a table surrounded by teachers with folded arms and rolling eyes it became much less enjoyable. Towards the end of the year teachers just stopped showing up altogether because it was a "waste of time" in their words.

    You've gotten some very good suggestions-hopefully something will work for you.
     
  13. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    I have the exact same problem. The only difference is we don't have lead teachers. Everyone kind of floats on their own. However, when I receive the other students from those classes it looks bad at me, since I have been there the longest. I have mentioned it to admin, but not much has been done.

    I see some good ideas on here. What if you meet with everyone and try to review the curriculum you have and everyone offer ideas? In my case, we have done this, but its the same ones offering the ideas. Personally, I think it would work better on a one to one session. You might get better feedback and truly see that you are being optimistic it might transfer to them.

    Good luck.
     
  14. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Do you take minutes during your meetings? I do and it helped immensely as well giving everyone an "assignment" for the next meeting. Ours are "one student success, one new idea and one weakness with one solution."
     
  15. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I really like this!
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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  17. zoerba

    zoerba Comrade

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    I also work in a large team with 6 teachers (including me). When I first joined the group 6 years ago, the teachers were exactly as you described. They were very negative, didn't like their job, and didn't want to be there. They put no extra effort into teaching.

    Six years later, there are still a few issues, but nothing like what it was. We have had a few changes that I think improved moral.

    First, we got RID of the team leader position, as it's traditionally known. Having a 'lead' teacher was causing morale issues. It gave the impression that the principal favored one teacher over the others - and many times that teacher developed a bit of an ego. What we decided to do was have a different team leader representative for each quarter of the school year. This has worked great!

    Another thing that has helped is that my principal made a conscience effort to involve the 'unmotivated' teachers in more things. She went out of her way to ask them if they'd be on committees or willing to help with this or that. They were shocked but agreed to do several things.

    Basically, at my school (of course it could be different at yours) all that was missing from my team was a sense of respect and ownership.
     
  18. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    That is awesome! I so wish more administrators that did this. Its so often the exact same people at every, single thing. I don't think it has to do with people not wanting to do it but more someone not feeling as though they can contribute or even how to get involved.
     
  19. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    When you email them about something good they did or thanking them for something do you cc the P?

    When I give a co-worker a compliment on something they've done well I always cc the P.
     
  20. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    So you are in a PLC, that seems to be the new in thing for the moment. I am hoping it fades out of style just as quickly as most everything else does. Constantly having to plan as a whole team is painful.
    I say you just need to worry less about the other teachers on your team and just focus on what you need to do. If they don't give 110% and you do, thats great.
     
  21. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I completely disagree with this. For one I do not think our Principal wants that many emails about things that they are not involved in. For another, the everday communications and interactions between team members are just that, between team members. If a team member of mine was ccing the principal when it came to those types of items, I would not communicate by email with them anymore.
    Most of what goes on between team members should stay within the team.
     
  22. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    good idea - thanks:)
     
  23. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    You've gotten some really good advice here. I think having a specific agenda is important, let them know what it is at least 24 hours in advance, give them a chance to add anything to it, and make sure you ask for any materials you'd like them to bring at that time.

    I think it's equally important to remember that while you are the team leader, you are not their boss. You don't have the ability to hire/fire them, and I'm guessing that you don't have a part in their evaluation. They need to view you as an equal. Someone who supports them and understands them. Be prepared to talk about where you struggle and ask for suggestions from them. Talk about what works and what isn't working so well in your classroom, and I think it will communicate to them that you aren't trying to tell them what to do or how to run their classrooms.

    At my former school, our teams just had to agree on the skill to be assessed and the time frame in which it was to be done. We respected that each teacher might teach that skill differently according to his/her style. Of course, they had to be able to justify what they did to the principal if results weren't as good as they had expected. It worked for us.
     
  24. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    :hijack:PLC's are not about planning. PLC's are learning communities where teachers look over data and look at where the trends are with their students. When one teacher makes significant strides in an area, a PLC could ask that teacher to share strategies that he/she is using. PLC's can focus on a book study, child behaviors, test scores, etc. It is all about learning with and through your peers. I hope this helps. If all your PLC is doing is planning together - they are missing important components of the PLC process and you are not focusing on building a learning community that helps one another grow in the profession. I hope this does not sound preachy. I am just a PLC trainer within my district and there are many misconceptions concerning PLC's.:)
     
  25. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I am the kind of person who'd rather worry just about myself. However, it does reflect on me if my team isn't up to snuff. Our grade level scores are posted for the whole school to see and we hear about it if the next grade finds issues with the kids we send up.
     
  26. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    ok so what book study would you suggest when all the teachers either think they know everything about teaching or don't care. Sorry... I'm really not being sarcastic:eek:hmy:
     
  27. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I know what PLC's are, planning is apart of it. The data is apart of it, as well as learning together, and sharing together, doing the same things together. I am not a fan of using them, I do not believe them to be the most effective way for all teachers to teach. Maybe some of them can work that way.
    (need new thread stricly for PLC talk)
     
  28. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I agree and I am definitely in no way a boss. In fact, I hate having to keep us in line because I'd much rather just be responsible for me.
     
  29. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Our school does that as well, they are just numbers. They are just test scores. They represent how a student did a few days out of 180. I try to not take much stock in them. When my students did extremely well I got pumped up for it, didn't agree with that. When my students did poorly, I got some criticism, didn't agree with that. It all just depends on how much you let a few numbers influence you
     
  30. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    To the original poster: I have had some of these problems this school year. I finally had to have a meeting where we discussed the protocols of our planning sessions. I explained that we can have days where we have gripe sessions, but that planning sessions are not gripe sessions. I explained that we want to stay on task and the expectations were laid out and we all signed a "contract" of sorts. This really helped our team to pull together and focus on the important aspects of planning. I like the suggestions you have here. I post all our meeting minutes for the P to see. I include who is in attendance. What they are in charge of for the next meeting and if that expectation was met at the next meeting. I have a person on our team that takes notes for me, forwards them to me, and I look over before sending to the P. Each member of our team has "job." You are responsible for your job. Jobs include: Secretary, Webmaster, Newsletter/Homework Leader, Interventionist (Keeps up with low performing students on the grade level - so that we chart the progress of ALL students) and PLC Facilitator. Having roles within the grade level with common expectations that have clearly been defined makes my job of team leader MUCH easier.
     
  31. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Agreed.
     
  32. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    It depends on where your team needs the most help... Is the problem reading? math? organization?

    I know it is hard not to feel beat down when you are working with people that do not seem to want to be there. It makes you feel like you are swimming upstream. That is tough. But it DOES seem like you are making progress with test scores. Another person wrote that test scores do not matter to him/her. Unfortunately, we live in a time when test scores do matter. Funding is often based on test scores. School ratings are based on test scores. If your school does not meet certain standards, your school could receive a lower rating which would not attract potential families to an area. Who wants to teach or attend at a school that has failing ratings? It makes you think there is something not so great happening in the school. Parents start to lose faith. They move to the "better" schools. I HATE test scores and how much emphasis is placed on them. By the same token, they are a part of our reality. Just saying...:cool:
     
  33. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    "How to Work with Difficult Teachers"-Todd Whitaker ;).

    We did a school-wide book study in our PLC's this year (Teach Like a Champion). I have never heard so many complaints from teachers. Some flat-out didn't read it, didn't bring it to meetings so they couldn't discuss it. complained that they didn't need management advice or that they could be better spending the time grading papers. Some people just don't want to grow and that's very frustrating to deal with-especially when you are supposed to be leading them are excited about things like that. It just seems to make that divide wider sometimes.
     
  34. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    For me, I do not think test scores are indicative of a school and how good it is. High test scores might tell me that there are some realy hard working, focused, smart students there. It also might tell me that there is too much focus on beating the test (we all know this happens).
    I believe my kids will achieve success regardless of the school if they work hard (for the most part).
     
  35. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    We did a book study last year, I was one of those complainers (shocker). Reading a book is not going to motivate me to be a better teacher. Reading a book will irritate me that I have to spend time at home reading about being a better teacher when I could be doing something else. Not every teacher wants to be the greatest teacher in the world. They shouldn't have to be, they just need to be good and do their job. When can we ever say that a teacher is doing good enough. I think that is the biggest factor in teachers who don't care as much anymore. Regardless of how hard they work, how good they do, how much time/effort they put in, how successful their students are; it is never enough. I enjoyed teaching at one point. When I realized that it will never be good enough, that was my breaking point. I just don't think its right.
     
  36. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    But I think every teacher has room to grow. People get complacent and forget about strategies they once knew. There are new things that you can use to spice things up. I just don't understand not wanting to be team player and contribute to a professional discussion.
     
  37. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Of course we all have room to grow. Does that mean we have to push harder and harder all the time to constantly do that growing? What is wrong with saying, you are doing good, just stick with what you are doing for a while, thats good enough.
     
  38. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Mini thread jack:

    I don't ever want to be complacent. I love my job, I love the opportunity to teach students, I love working to perfect my craft... I owe it to the community as part of my responsibility as a teacher to continue to push myself so that our citizens can be prepared for the world around them.
     
  39. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    sorry but this is my problem. I really like teaching with teachers who continually push the envelope - learning... Teaching, to me, is much more than a job. I don't want to do anything - just good enough. I see teachers I would love to teach with in other grades - that are alot like me. However, I love my grade and there are others who would love teaching it (we are talking kindergarten here) - just not the ones I'm with. Problem is bad teachers.... or teachers who just don't care reflect poorly on teachers who always try to take up the slack...


    Sorry...... just strikes a raw nerve lately. Teaching is too hard to NOT have fun, not push the bounds of what is possible. I hate teaching with teachers who are content with being mediocre. I am a great teacher, but I know enough to know there is soooo much to learn and sooo many ways to grow as a teacher. I am sad I'm not surrounded by other great teachers like those on this board.

    Maybe that really is my problem. I'm not going to fix the problems in my grade level. It's a difference in teaching perspective. Sorry I've turned this into a pity party for me.

    But thank you as I have received many great ideas - many that I will implement. If nothing else I will know I really have tried my best.:hugs:
     
  40. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I guess that is part of my "problem". Even when I still enjoyed teaching, I always saw it as just a job. I have been extremely productive over the years as a teacher, having a great deal of success with many students (not all and not every year). But it has always been and will always be just a job to me. I have fun some days, enjoy the students some days, and then there are days I do not. I complain, bitch, moan, and groan at times, but there are many times that are good also.
    When it comes to progress, I am happy with be content. My goal with whatever job I have, is to be content.
    I think it is important to realize that everyone has different expectations and we can not always push our expecations onto others. You want to continually improve and be the best teacher you can be. Some teachers just want to do a good job while have successful students. I don't think either one of those is wrong.
     
  41. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I do "get" what you are saying. We are all different and I can't push what I want on others. That is a very valid point. I do have to consider that. I don't agree with it as we have extremely pivotal roles in either "making" or "breaking" childrens' academic careers. I just believe teaching is designed to be more than a job. But not everyone believes that. I do wish principals would recognize this. I see principals take a group of teachers that are content and try to mix it up with one dynamic teacher - to get them all motivated. But it really wears down a teacher who wants to work with others to be on a team with a bunch of complacent teachers. I believe principals should think about this more and try, if possible, to match personalities better. oh well...
     

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