Teamwork Counts (A Lot!)
In this week's Voice of Experience essay, educator Max Fischer draws parallels between his days as a high school football player and his role on a team responsible for creating an IEP that will get to the bottom of -- and solve -- a student's learning issues. In both cases, teamwork is key; no room exists for prima donnas.
Max W. Fischer
I consider my days playing high school football among my most cherished memories. The value of hard work and the determination to pick oneself up off the turf after a rough play are among the lessons learned on the football field that pay huge dividends as an adolescent transitions into adulthood. The most lasting lesson off all, however, is what football taught me about the importance of teamwork in accomplishing a common goal.
In recent years, the public and press have come to distort education's role. They would have everyone believe that it's all about test scores. Teachers and other members of the education team know that our roles go far deeper than that, however, and that fact is at no time more apparent than when we work with students who have physiological, emotional, or social concerns that impede learning. Just as a football team depends upon eleven individuals to successfully complete their missions, teachers and other educators must collaborate to help students overcome -- or, at least learn to compensate for -- their learning challenges.
In the school setting, nurses, counselors, psychologists, administrators, tutors -- and especially parents -- must come together to foster the best possible learning environment for a student who faces obstacles to learning. If such a thing as ground rules for teamwork existed in those cases, experience has taught me that those rules would have to include the following:
As the center on the offensive line on my high school football team, I played a relatively anonymous position. Yet when I didn't work effectively with the other ten players, the coaches -- if not the entire stadium -- knew exactly where to point the finger. As a teacher, my role is almost as anonymous, but it is just as entwined with the roles of all the other members of my students' teaching team. If I don't interact effectively on this team, the results may reverberate well into the child's future.
A teacher for nearly three decades, Max Fischer currently teaches seventh graders the marvels of ancient and medieval history. A National Board certified teacher in the area of early adolescence social studies/history, Max has authored nine resource books for teachers in the fields of social studies, health, and math. You can read a previously published article about Fischer: Simulations Engage Students in Active Learning.
Article by Max Fischer
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