Yesterday I met with my new teammate to work on planning the Listening Conferences with parents that will start our school year. This was not our first meeting. After she was hired at our school, she spent two days at the end of the year in my classroom observing and soaking in our culture. We also met one other day after school was out to begin the process of getting to know each other and answer some of her questions. I think we will be a good team and will learn a lot from each other. Right now though, meeting with her brings up many questions for me.
The biggest question is the question of balance in any teamwork setting. Ideally, you learn each other's strengths and learn how to use those strengths to help each other be the best you can be. At the beginning of the relationship, though, things are not always as balanced. The newer team member usually needs more help and support just to get things started. This is where I am with my new teammate. She needs a lot of background information and support about our school and how things work there. I am happy to share what I know with her.
My dilemma comes in trying to figure out how much I should share and how much I should listen. I know that she has some valuable experience to share but at this point she has so much to learn that we spend much of our time with me doing the talking. I need to be aware of how much talking I do and make sure that I let her have a chance to share what has worked well for her in the past. Gradually as we move into the year I know that things will become more balanced. Right now, she is feeling worried about being a "drain" on me and I am worried about being too domineering. I think that it is a good sign that we are both aware of our feelings and have already been able to talk about them with each other. I also like that answering her questions about how and why I do the things I do is making me really think deeply about my teaching practices. I think we are on the way to developing a wonderful relationship.