Friday, August 30, 2013

Teacher Retreat + Team Building

This first week back as been such a busy week! Our school is fairly new and only accepts students with special needs or learning differences who need intervention. The school started with one classroom and now has five. With all of that growth, the school staff has doubled since December of last year. One of our missions this summer was to decide how to develop a school community.

This team building as a school started with the teachers. We all do team teaching as well as interacting with countless specialists (Doctors, OT's, Speech, etc.). Our administration decided it was important for us to do some bonding and team building together before starting our year.

We took a trip to Half Moon Bay and did a whole bunch of activities as teams. We all enjoyed a beautiful dinner and hung out at the Ritz over looking the ocean. That night we played Heads Up and Mad Gab which was a fun way to get to know each other outside of school. It was basically a big slumber party with all of us getting to bond with each other.
My view at the Ritz while we hung out together

The next morning we all ate breakfast and headed out to the beach. We each went kayaking with our teaching partner. I had never been before and it was sooo much fun! Lauren & I were the first ones out in the water together. We discovered we make a great kayaking team! I loved it and I think it would be a fabulous thing to do again with friends!
The AMAZING view from my bed on the sleeping porch!
Our kayaks!
 When we got back to our beach house we had some team building challenges. We had a rope and had to solve problems in different ways.
  1. Create an equilateral triangle without talking or taking our hands off the rope. This one was fairly easy and a nice way to start.
  2. Create a square with our eyes closed. This was a challenge because several people talked at once and it was hard to decide when we were done when we couldn't see anything. We eventually got it worked out. (I'll admit it was more of a rectangle, but it was close!)
  3. Lay the round rope on the ground and fit everyone in the circle at once while singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat. This was tricky but doable the first time. Then the circle got smaller and got a lot more difficult. This is where the team building really happened!
One of the best parts of the team building was our facilitator. One of the teachers at our school used to do outdoor education and did a wonderful job of helping us reflect on the problem solving process after each activity. It was nice to think about how each of us approaches problems differently and we took different roles naturally in each situation. 

One thing I found very interesting were the Enneagram personality quizzes we all took. I discovered I am an "achiever" and "helper." Neither of these was a shock to me! I'm a SPED teacher who has always been a bit of a nerd! But it was nice to read a bit more about our personalities. Lauren, my co-teacher, and I have very different personalities, but we looked it up and discovered that we are very compatible and complement each other well. It's something I've noticed from the moment I started teaching with her. I'm so glad we were paired up together this year! Lauren was actually the one organized our retreat and she did an amazing job!

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