one of the things that i didn’t think would make that much of a difference, actually makes a huge difference in how much i enjoy teaching. find your people, your tribe, your peeps, your squad. teachers are social creatures usually. we like to be together and we feed off of each others’ energy. that’s been my experience anyway. when i feel like my squad is strong, i feel stronger. so find those people who make your day brighter, easier, mentally stimulating, and all around more fun.
build camaraderie – find fun stuff to do together. even if it’s a time suck, sometimes it’s good to relax and have fun.
define roles – if it’s formal like a department, figure out who’s who. i am the foul-mouthed, lets-get-shit-done, blunt one. others are the organized leader/sweet one, the comic relief/comforting one, and the even-tempered, calm one. we round each other out. (we also have a weird, new one, but i won’t talk about him just yet.) same goes for your teacher friends group. sometimes multiple groups are needed – one for serious times and one for light-hearted times.
set goals – with a more formal group, it’s good to talk about what you want to accomplish so everyone is on the same page. the trick is to come back to them on a regular basis and reevaluate.
communicate openly – with any tribe, it’s important that you’re able to be yourself and express your thoughts. if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable, chances are you need a new group.
support each other – part of these working relationships is helping each other out. it supports the group and keeps it going and growing. experiences make the squad stronger.
use your time wisely – this one is tricky. keep in mind your goals and this comes a little easier. if you need more friend time (because that’s what it usually morphs into!), schedule a happy hour or other event outside of school.
respect what you’ve built – part of a successful tribe is to respect the people in your group like family. you also have to respect what you’ve built together and not do things to damage it. especially if you work with your tribe for several years, take care with it. sometimes we get so comfortable with people that we forget what it took to get there.
let it go – this concept builds on “respect what you’ve built”. to protect the group and personal relationships within it, sometimes it’s necessary to just let it go. yes, it’s difficult sometimes. but think about this question…”is it worth it?”
do your part – again, part of respecting the tribe and the work you’ve put into it is participating fully and taking responsibility for what you need to do to keep it going. it’s helpful to reevaluate your part or role in the group when discussing your goals and future projects.
it’s hard to find your tribe. and it’s rare to keep it going for more than a year or two. if you do develop one, take care with it.