As educators, we often seek to integrate collaborative learning opportunities as often as possible in our classrooms. But what about collaboration and collegiality with each other? That is just as important!
I've worked in a few schools where the environment differs starkly in each. One former school was in dire need of help and immediate change in student outcomes. It was stressful! I have endless stories about things I witnessed from students and experienced from district personnel. But the one constant amidst chaos was our commitment to creating an environment where each staff member felt included and supported. We had outings to celebrate milestones within the school, holiday dinners after work, and fun weekly professional development meetings! The work with students seemed endless and it was so refreshing to feel like I had a network of support outside of my personal life. And the team atmosphere was evident to our students. It translated in better performance because students knew that we were all on the same page. I'll make a post later about how we did this. It was truly magical!
Building collegiality among colleagues is important for creating a positive and productive work environment. Read these strategies you can use to promote collegiality in your school:
Encourage open communication: Encourage your colleagues to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns in a respectful and constructive manner. This can help to build trust and understanding among colleagues. Everyone has an opinion, and although a few may differ from the majority, it is essential to recognize differences and allow opportunities for discussion. I choose to focus on respect because that is a pet peeve of mine. How can we expect our students to respect each other and us when we don't exhibit these behaviors? We must set a positive example to build a cohesive team of professionals.
Foster a culture of teamwork: Encourage colleagues to work collaboratively and support each other in achieving their goals. This can help to create a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect. Create time to allow teachers to plan! Administrators, step into classrooms on a consistent basis; make your presence known to students and teachers.
Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate the successes of individual colleagues and the team as a whole! This can help to build morale and create a positive work environment. Say thank you! Do monthly shout outs to recognize amazing things happening in the building!
Offer support: Be available to offer support and guidance to your colleagues when needed. This can help to build trust and foster a sense of community. Creating a "family first" atmosphere makes your staff feel appreciated and less apt to burn out. Teachers shouldn't feel shamed about taking personal time when needed; we're all human.
Participate in team-building activities: Participate in team-building activities such as off-site retreats, team-building exercises or group outings. This can help to build relationships and strengthen the bonds between colleagues.
Embrace diversity: Embrace the diversity of your colleagues and appreciate their unique perspectives and experiences. This can help to create a culture of inclusivity and respect.
Promote collegiality among colleagues and create a positive and productive work environment in your school. It takes time, but it can be done!
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