We look up to our Michigan teachers as some of the most important people in our lives. Yet we often forget that they need support and team building training too. When a group of teachers from Battle Creek Public Schools wanted help collaborating, we were happy to help!
Far-flung teachers come together for some practice with collaboration skills.
The Battle Creek Public Schools teachers who came to us were surrounded by students all day long and rarely got to be in the same room with one another. Plus, they all worked in different schools so they hardly even saw each other very much.
This presented obstacles when it came to the times when they had to work together. They simply weren’t used to it!
To help them ease into collaboration, we suggested Team Synergy ™, a team building workshop whose primary focus is to get people collaborating.
The teachers used the initial consultation to tell us about their goals.
Once we heard they needed help improving collaboration techniques, we knew right away that Team Synergy™ would be right for them. It incorporates multiple activities where participants are called upon to collaborate to reach a small goal.
Team Synergy™ turned out to be just what the teachers were looking for in a team-building workshop. It works for any group whose members are scattered by geography or who don’t often get a chance to be in the same room together even if they work in the same building. Examples would be people who work in different departments or sales teams working from different parts of the country.
Team Synergy™ is also for people whose jobs call for lots of independence- like teachers! They’re used to having command of their classroom so when teachers get together, it’s a whole different dynamic than their everyday work life.
A custom mix of activities for the Battle Creek Public Schools teachers.
We don’t do this for every Team Synergy™ workshop, but it seemed appropriate to have a guest speaker to start things rolling.
After the morning speaker, we eased into a group discussion. This was extremely helpful, since it gave our workshop facilitator a chance to see communication patterns in action. This would come in handy for the activities they were about to do.
Teachers are leaders, no? So we borrowed from our highly-regarded Campfire Leadership program. This includes a brief study of personality types and how that knowledge can facilitate collaboration.
Lots of hands-on activities.
The day started with a lot of listening and speaking. But the rest of the workshop was full of fun, engaging interactive activities that got teachers practicing their skills. One involves a marble, a PVC pipe, and the full length of a gym floor. Oh, and collaborative teamwork is essential for success!
Teams learned that working together was the only way to move their marbles. Each team was successful although some were much quicker than others!
Teachers face tough challenges but shine- we knew they would!
We don’t do this with every group, because frankly not every group is ready for it, but the final activity of the day was a tough challenge. It’s important to encourage good work and voice our approval when people do good things. Teachers know this (they do it in their classrooms every day!).
We asked each teacher to speak up about a personality strength he or she had observed in every other participant that day. It was a little intense! They had to give examples of that strength in action, too.
Believe it or not, tears were shed when teachers heard their colleagues praising their strengths. Teachers don’t often get this type of positive feedback and encouragement! We consider that a sign of a job well done. Great job, Battle Creek Public Schools Teachers: you nailed collaboration!