Teaming That Works
"We really rely on our administrative personnel in the building. They are supportive of the whole teaming process. " —Jill Whitesell
Evolution of a Team
Meile and Theresa started their teaming odyssey when a middle school principal noticed the similarities in their educational philosophies and put them on the same team. While their journey was not always a smooth one, it led to a rich background in curriculum, instruction, and assessment as they pertain to teaming.
Each teacher brings a unique teaching background and style to the team. Theresa Maves, Meile Harris, and Jill Whitesell all began their careers in schools that implemented the teaching team concept. Their paths merged when Meile and Theresa moved to O’Leary Jr. High. Their evolution into a high functioning instructional team at O'Leary Junior High is a story of professional development and dedication to learning. They all acknowledge the advantage of having each other's interests and expertise at the curriculum planning table.
Meile, Jill, Theresa, and Paul have participated in two teaming symposiums sponsored by The J&K Albertson’s Foundation. This provided the team with concentrated time to plan integrated curriculum with the guidance of some well-known experts. James Beane and his team demonstrated how to plan engaging curriculum specifically designed with the needs of the middle school students in mind. Meile and Theresa had integrated units before on their own between math and science, but the summer trainings gave the team a chance to integrate all the disciplines because all team members were present. These trainings were essential and a major turn around for a very traditional social studies teacher on the team who has taught for 34 years, Paul Remaley.
Noticing a steady decline in reading scores at the middle school level, the Twin Falls School District decided to add an additional language arts block for students at this level. The change meant students would attend a language arts block each day and each team would acquire an additional language arts teacher. The team put to use their philosophy of capitalizing on each other’s strengths when Dani Jo joined the team.
Personality Types and Teaming
Considering all the aspects of teaming, the team has found that getting to know one another’s personality goes a long way to improving communication and preventing conflict. Periodically, the team takes a personality inventory and shares insights gained from this activity. Please Understand Me by David Keirsey is an excellent resource.