Thoughts & Reflections
We are a team. We all work together with a common goal — to best support the needs of the children at our school, and their families. What role we play might look a little different, but answering emails, vacuuming, giving a presentation to a child, all serve the same goal — tending to the needs of these children and their families, creating a Prepared Environment for them to learn and grow, making sure all is attended to.
Each classroom also has a team, adults who work together not just for the well-being of all families at Baan Dek, but specifically for these 29 children they work with directly. The classroom is a space designed for children. The materials, the furniture, everything is child sized. The adults are the ones out of place, too big, outnumbered, yet able to affect the mood dramatically.
It is a nuanced relationship, one we keep honing in, learning what works and what doesn’t, what each of these roles entail, how they are interdependent and symbiotic; cogs of a wheel in a dam, two silk threads forming the warp and weft of an indescribably beautiful garment, hands clasping.
When they work in tandem, it is a symphony.
When things are out of sync, we limp along, a bicycle with a flat tire, or we come to a screeching halt, fly over the handlebars.
We talk about this relationship a lot. Why does this one work, when this one doesn’t? How do we have effective, intimate conversation, talking about hard things, when you let me down, when I know I have wronged you, not just about the weather and weekend plans? How do we let ourselves, encourage ourselves to be vulnerable, the extreme openness that is vital for team and individual growth?
How do we hold each other accountable? How do we set goals and call ourselves out when we fall short? How we we grieve that loss and set higher goals tomorrow?
We lean against each other, supporting this partner, relying on one another, helping each along.
There are sometimes partners who share more than a business plan. Siblings, spouses, best friends, there is something unique about the relationship when it is both personal and professional.
What is it about this relationship, that helps the organization fly?
The same qualities one looks for in a friend, in a partner, cultivated through growing up together, are those we need working together in the classroom. It might take years to realize that this is your soulmate, that your sister is your best friend not the worst, that those pinky swears on the playground and inside jokes have formed a bond deep and unbreakable.
With absolutely no disrespect for those relationships, the classroom team is as deep as that, as intimate, as nuanced and all-encompassing.
“We lean against each other, supporting this partner, relying on one another, helping each along.”
So, what is it about those personal relationships that helps in a professional aspect? What qualities have you developed through time that we can learn from?
A strong personal relationship, romantic or not but always deep and abiding, is one built on trust, strong communication, reliability, growth.
I know this person has my back, no matter what. Behind closed doors he might sigh heavily about my clutter, she might be perpetually irritated about my disorganization, but he will never throw me under the bus, if someone else called me disorganized she would be the first to stand up for me, acclaiming all my positive qualities, mitigating my flaws.
Then, later, we’d talk about how messy and disorganized I am.
Which the next quality — strong communication. I know what my best friend is thinking. My sister bears her heart to me. A partner is one you can be honest with in the dark, sharing what scares you most, the possibility you hope might come true. You share when you are hurt, overjoyed, hopeful, grieving. Your partner listens with their whole being, hearing what you’re saying and what you’re holding silent.
Irritation and hurt feelings are not a broken relationship. They are a reason for conversation and openness. Because this person will not walk away from you. They are reliable.
If you need someone, really need someone, they are your Person. They are who you call with big joy and big pain. They know exactly what you need — a hug, running away from home, donuts, to sit in silence.
But they do not let you wither, they do not let you turn in on yourself, they do not let you rest on your laurels.
We finished tiling the bathroom, let’s rip out the kitchen next! Should we hike the Pacific Rim Trail or the Appalachian Trail this year? Want to learn how to cook coq au vin with me?
These qualities, vital for a lasting personal relationship, can be fostered in the classroom team relationship for the betterment of not just the individuals there, but of the classroom dynamic, the children who live and work there all day, the families these two adults serve.
What could you do, if you knew your partner would not let you fall? If you could speak openly, without fear of being hurt, with the purpose of honesty and furthering growth? If you could work with a true partner to set and achieve goals? Sink or swim, you’ll do it together, and sink isn’t an option.
Written by:Charlotte Wood