Welcome to our fun place!! I am the last, but not least, member of the pleasure team to discuss how do you create an atmosphere of team or ownership?
It is very hard to get students to “get with the program” and feel that they are an important part of the puzzle. I have done exercises where they introduce themselves around the room. I have them write things down on paper and as I read them aloud, the other students try to figure out who I am describing.
All of these things are designed to create fellowship, an opportunity to learn something about each other and make everyone in the room feel as though they are a part of something – the class!
What I found to work at creating a team was the fact that I was very open about myself and my adventures throughout my life. I let them know about my personal likes and dislikes, which they started to notice, were “human” just like theirs.
You know sometimes we, as teachers, tend to forget the fact that many of our students don’t look at us as people who have experiences similar to the ones they have had! I found that in order to get, you have to give! If I was seeking a team, I had to make them feel we were a team!
Yes, you may have to step out of your comfort zone. Yes, this is easier for some than others but it is a good marketing tool and yes, we are marketing our subject area! You will find that the climate of the room drastically changes. It’s comfortable, engaging and FUN.
Two things happened in my class this term that I was never allowed to live down, one being the morning I forgot the class. It was the first week of the term and I was still “mentally” on last term schedule! One of the students came to my office to retrieve me from my coffee-time! When I got to class, all were accounted for and patiently waiting for my explanation. They were hysterical! The other was the day after the NCAA tournament when I arrived in “full” Kentucky Wildcat regalia! They were still talking about it until the end of the term.
Things like these help to make a teacher belong to their group. I have always lived by the adage – “what you see is what you get”. This has energized my effectiveness in the classroom because students appreciate a certain respect for honesty and the fact that I am a person, just like them. They feel the team spirit because that’s what we are!
To paraphrase Mae West – Hope ya’ll come back to see us sometime!