And there are many parts to a team and each is important to the composition of the whole. True for the baseball team, true for the Polka Devils and certainly true for our schools. Wouldn't you think that it would take a team to make something like a school succeed? This can't be done alone or by teammates at odds with one another. It is here that the structural integrity of the idea holds and guides the team through the contest or path to accomplishment. With schools, the integrity of the idea is that all the participants -- and that means teachers, administrators, parents and students -- are accountable because being a player means participating in the decisions that affect your future. With all this comes responsibility, and in this case, responsibility for a school that is struggling. But somehow, as of late, the responsibility, the sole responsibility for failing schools, has fallen on the shoulders of the teacher in the classroom. Not on the administrators who for some reason are not evaluated by either the teachers in the school (if you're thinking SQR, think again) or the parents in the community. And as far as the parents go, I wouldn't be the first to call for evaluations, but who am I to judge? We must call for and support any parental involvement we can get. To do otherwise is to betray the integrity of the idea that the team can withstand flaws and still move forward. As far as instilling a feeling of teamwork in our students; well, it is very difficult to do this without the glue of shared experience. Just being in the same classroom without engaging in "teamwork" experience does not leave the indelible stamp of being on a team; of being an integral part of or a member of something bigger than oneself. Schools are woefully ill-equipped to provide the environment where teamwork can flourish, and our students bear the consequences. And they endure these consequences year after year that the Arts and Sports program are reduced or cut from the budget and positive changes are not implemented. You can't just say the teachers are shirking responsibility when in fact, teachers are only part of the larger team effort. Yet we are the ones who are graded, evaluated, threatened, accused and excessed. Teamwork...yeah, it's a nice word.
Answers are organic. They grow up from the ground and unless it is for the prayed-for rain, the answers don't come from above. Now here I am; standing in the doorway of my classroom wondering where all my teammates have gone. A month in and still no school assembly, it's bulletin board update or die time, warnings of upcoming observations are circulated along with murmurs of a school closing. As for the rest of the team, let me provide an anecdote to make a point. A call goes out to a parent that their little angel brought a gun to school; the parent's response: "What caliber?" So, are we waiting for this parent to come into school or is this just a perverse play on the "parent trigger"? Will it take a team to turn around a school? Yes, it will, but right now we don't have the uniforms. And more importantly, we don't have the vision.