Working in teams is almost unavoidable in any work setting, and teaching is no different. But, how do you get a diverse group of teachers to work together toward a common goal? The following are some great strategies that you can use to get your teaching staff focused and to keep them motivated.
The first thing that you will need to do is to get the entire staff together. During this meeting, both long and short term goals should be discussed. As a team, develop a plan of action for accomplishing those goals. Once you have identified the goals for the staff and developed a plan of action, you should have regular staff meetings in order to assess progress and to encourage the staff to stay focused on those goals. You can also invite guest speakers to come periodically to help keep your teaching staff motivated.
Clearly define expectations
As a principal, superintendent, Lead Teacher, or other person of authority, it is up to you to provide the staff with clearly defined expectations. Each teacher should know what they are expected to do, what the expected outcome is, and how that outcome works toward the overall goal.
Once you have discussed the school or district’s main goal with the staff and clearly defined your expectations for them, you can then decide if you want your staff to work as one large group or if you want to divide them up into smaller teams. Working as one large group can be almost impossible in a large size school. So, in this instance, a smaller group would work more effectively than a larger one.
Now, you must decide how to group your staff. You can place them in groups according to their subject areas or you can opt to mix the different subject areas.
Once the staff is divided into groups, you should delegate leadership positions. The teams should have one person who is in charge of keeping the team on track. This should be a person who is a decision-maker and a visionary. They should also have good interpersonal and communication skills.
In order to successfully accomplish your goals, each member of the teaching staff must be active participants in the group. With the stresses of dealing with students, parents, and trying to meet state and federal standards, it can be easy for staff members to attempt to avoid the added responsibility. This is a mistake. All of the teaching staff needs to be fully committed to working toward the school’s mission. They should not be passively watching their co-workers do all the work. So, how do you get these teachers motivated?
One way to keep teachers actively involved in the team is to rotate leadership positions. Each team member should have to take a leadership position at some point during the project. Another way to get disengaged staff members involved is to assign them projects that interest them and fall within their area of expertise. Ask them to share their ideas and opinions. People tend to work harder when they feel their work and their opinions matter.
Don’t try to beat your teaching staff into one mole. Celebrate each of the member’s diversity. This diverse group can bring a variety of different points of view to the table. They can also offer their expertise in different areas.
Getting a diverse group of teachers focus on a common goal may seem difficult. However, it can be done effectively by identifying goals, defining expectations, embracing diversity, and getting everyone actively involved.