Thursday, May 03, 2007

Bases Loaded (revisited)

This was originally posted on June 1, 2006:

Playing baseball isn't easy. Trusting that your teammates can accomplish a task that you yourself are unable at the time to assist in is difficult. Ask any pitcher who leaves a game with bases loaded hoping the reliever will close out the inning and not allow any runs. The statistics by which all pitchers are judged (their ERA) is left in the hands of one of your teammates. There is a level of trust that cannot be denied.

This situation occurred yesterday while I was coaching the undefeated boys varsity baseball team here at QHST. The starting pitcher trusted the reliever to save the game. After the inning was over the starting pitcher shook hands with his replacement and said, "thanks."

I think as a teacher I learned much from this. When teachers are absent from school there is a level of trust we afford our replacement. We hope that they pick up our classes and cover our assignments. As team members we need to trust each other. I trust the English teacher is working on writing skills that will compliment my global studies assignments. I trust that the dean and guidance councilor are looking out for the behavioral and emotional safety of my students. I trust that when I am not available my team will pick up the slack. When I have bad days (too many sometimes) I trust my team will ease my stress. When I have good days my teammates can trust me to help bring them up.

Good team members do not always agree, but they do always trust their teammates. Planning events without members present (of which I am definitely guilty of) can only be done with the understanding that the level of trust that we have for each other as professionals has been established. The team never takes the field without the catcher although they will definitely have a practice. We are not only out for the best of the students, but the best of each other. I trust that when I am not sitting with my team that they are out for my best interest. I can only hope they feel the same.

I have worked in other schools where the idea of professional colleagues was absent. It is not fun. We should never want to do anything to jeopardize our good fortune of working together as teams of equal professionals here. Be it your 1st, 10th or 20th year teaching we all bring valuable insight to the table each time we share our thoughts.

If anyone ever has bases loaded, and can't get ahead of the batters, and if you need me to relief pitch, I'll be there. I also know that my team would be there for me.


Anonymous said...

It is always reassuring to know that colleagues are willing to be there when you need them. Your need to reaffirm this is the reason, if I may assume, for the reprint of this post. I would also hope that by now, after working together all year, that each of us knows who we can count on and who we can't count on professionally and personally. That said, it is always good to let everyone know how much you trust and even more importantly want to be trusted by colleagues and that we should each be there for the other when working on a team.

Anonymous said...

If one of the team members is perceived to have made a mistake, intentional or not - used steroids or dropped the ball - which affects the team's level of trust, the remaining team members, individually or collectively, need to find a way to communicate concerns about the perceived mistake to the team member in question. Dialogue and communication are necessary and take a level of maturity not always easy to muster when one feels trust has been violated.

W Brown said...

excellent metaphoric extension.

Ms. Mayo said...

I think it's interesting that the original post was originally posted the same time last year.

And I think it ties into Nigel's comment in the PIS about weary teachers. Most of us are exhausted, dealing with "stuff" in and out of school, and have spent a long time working closely and intensely with one another. I think some of us are starting to take things personally that we might have blown off earlier in the year. We're getting on each other's nerves-- hell, I'm getting on my own nerves at this point. And I still think that three SLC meetings a week will be better than two and a "professional" period, which many of us remember means an off period.

And the point is well taken that communication needs to be more direct.


W Brown said...

Excellent point bringing this to the SLC reduction issue. I must admit there are times when I dread sitting and listening to others. However I will also admit that I never left an SLC without a smile...(Friday excluded) Reducing SLC time would not benefit me or my students.

d. o'neill said...

Is there something else going on here that needs to be addressed? There seems to be underlying tension between the lines. Hopefully if there is an issue that needs to be addressed it will be, otherwise hard feelings could develop and fester and lead to an uncomfortable working environment.

I cannot even believe that a reduction in SLC time is actually being considered especially as I am so looking forward to working with my team in September. Hey Brody...I may really get on the team's nerves...I hope not, but hopefully we all will be able to air out any differences/disputes that come our way for that is how we grow.