Spring has sprung, and while both of our feet are still solidly in this spring 2023 semester, our eyes are beginning to look toward next summer and the 2023-24 school year. Summer of excellence proposals will be going out shortly, my brain is beginning to spin thinking of new systems we can begin to co-devise, communicate, and implement structurally, and I am starting to dream of a new set of faculty reps across divisions to really bring new life and spirit into our teaching and learning initiatives.
But let’s first be clear; the 2022-23 reps have brought it. Kim, Michelle, Rachel, Buck, and Hollie have grounded me personally all year long, and inspired us all collectively with their written/spoken words and actions. They have collectively led or co-led four different PLC’s; they have given advice in the construction of our new faculty onboarding, workshop week, PD Days; they have written a host of blogs in our first year ever of themed blasts, sometimes going deeply philosophical and sometimes just bragging on the amazing work faculty are up to; they have led the way in two very different podcast seasons (one about accountability and one about representations of schooling in motion pictures); they have planned for and helped lead our monthly new faculty fellowship; they have gathered together once a month to share openly about successes and challenges in classroom spaces; they have done their best to kindly and accurately represent the needs and interests of faculty on-the-ground. I’m sure I’m forgetting things. I always forget things.
It is no exaggeration to say: I could not do this job without TEAM reps.
But as much as I loved this year’s TEAM and I loved the previous years’ TEAM (shout out to our inaugural 2021-22 cohort!), my favorite thing of all about the TEAM concept is the fact that it rotates out every single school year. Too often in schools labor and opportunities get distributed into the hands of the few, when there are so many that are capable.
I absolutely don’t need an echo chamber with this group. I need people confident to speak the truth to scary admin like me. 🙂 Seriously, though, I do. Like tell us what faculty need and don’t need. Ya’ll are the ones that know. Professional growth initiatives are 100% dependent on breaths-of-fresh-air. I need some fresh air. And I need it to come from people that teach 3 year olds, 7 year olds, 11 year olds, 17 year olds; from people that teach math, the arts, the sciences, you get the idea. A formal application process is forthcoming, but you should really start considering applying for TEAM next year if you . . .
- Dig connecting and collaborating with faculty across divisions: TEAM members meet monthly to share honest challenges, give input on upcoming initiatives and themes, and just generally support each other in this difficult work. We often get so siloed across our north versus south campuses. This is a chance to build some new bridges.
- Enjoy trying things outside your comfort zone (that can also be resume-boosters!): Many of our TEAM members are not naturally in love with the idea of hosting a podcast, writing a blog, or running a new faculty event. And yet- they care about the impact these things can have, so they try it!
- Have new ideas of how to grow our collegial culture of faculty sharing: Contrary to popular belief, TEAM is not just about blogs and podcasts. If you have an idea about a new way to foster teaching/learning growth that we haven’t been doing, WE NEED YOU. Every year our goals and initiatives look different.
- Are a solution-oriented practitioner: This is not just an advisory committee. TEAM is for people that are solution-oriented and that want to take on the initiatives that we can envision. If you are the type of person that just prefers to vent about what is wrong without offering an alternative that you are willing to pitch in on, this may not be the group for you.
- Want to make an impact on the culture of teaching/learning at St. Andrew’s for years to come: Sure this is just a single-school-year commitment, but the work you do will persist, and not just on the blogs and podcasts we create and throw into the world. During the 2023-24 school year, we will be working on articulating our educational philosophy as a school as well as proposing a professional growth system along with FAAC. TEAM members will be integral pieces of this work.
Of course I can write all the words I want, but the real way you can get a sense of what it is to be on TEAM is to ask past/current members. For the real story, talk to the amazing folks from our 2021-2 or 2022-3 cohort.
- Maggie Secrest
- Rachel Scott
- Dean Julius
- Emmi Sprayberry
- Jim Foley
- Marty Kelly
- Nancy Rivas
- Marks McWhorter
- Kim Sewell
- Hollie Marjanovic
- Buck Cooper
- Michelle Portera