2015-05-06

by Ellen Jokerst

With a 15 member City Year team my school team is no stranger to teamwork. In the span of nine months we have put on many events including: seven attendance rallies, two teacher appreciation breakfasts, two Spelling Bee’s, a book and movie night, monthly student recognition lunches, and an awards night. In order for these one-off and ongoing events to happen it takes massive amounts of collaboration. Most simply, teamwork manifests itself in three ways: communication, dedication, and organization.  My team would not have been able to accomplish what it has without the perseverance and leadership skills not only of those tasked with heading up each event, but of the whole team driven by accountability.

One of my most cherished events was our Pi Day Carnival. I was in charge of organizing the math focused event. For months beforehand I delegated different table positions and their set up to my colleagues. Each table was catered to different types of learners such as those who prefer to work independently, in teams, or simply with a close friend. We also had tables for those who wanted clean fun and those who thrived on competition. My team added a little bit of themselves into it – one teammate created a live pie chart which displayed what circular foods students and staff liked most in real time.  Not everyone loves math, but teamwork means igniting enthusiasm in each other when we become bogged down by our other responsibilities.  The day arrived and through the work of gentle reminders, my team had in-kinded hundreds of dollars of cupcakes and fruit.

With all of our materials at the ready we hit a snag 45 minutes before the event and were unable to begin set up for more than a half hour. When we finally got the OK, my team raced into action. We all scurried about attempting to get our tables halfway decent before over a hundred kids would come bounding into the gymnasium.  The event could have crashed and burned but everyone took control over their tables and picked up the slack when they noticed decorations that could be posted or the need for more paper towels at our pi crafting table.  Our adrenaline kicked in and the Pi Carnival raced by with plenty of merry children solving word problems, practicing their multiplication and division, and memorizing pi facts for raffle tickets. In the end, the event was a success. My team would like to credit me for my weeks of organization on the event but honestly, it was up to them to rise to the challenge, stay committed, and recognize the goals and scope of the event.

My team stays strong under pressure and weeks out from an event. They are kind, responsible, ready, and willing to lend a hand where hands are needed. This year, I have seen what a good team looks like and I hope that I continue to find wonderful people, like them, for the rest of my life.   

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