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Quick Guide to Teacher Team Building

Gail Fulford


Quick Guide to Teacher Team Building

After more than 30 years of teaching, I have decided that teacher morale, faculty cohesiveness and school climate all have a greater impact on student learning than any other factors.


Critical to engaging students in learning to the best of their abilities, are highly effective faculty, staff and leadership teams. That is why teacher team building is at the heart of any successful school.


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Why Is Team Building Important?

Team building is probably the best way to build collaborative, high performing teams that will also increase faculty morale and student performance. The benefits of team building programs that incorporate the differences in the four basic personalities as well as team bonding and camaraderie activities are so significant that many schools have incorporated team building strategies into their standard training curriculum for staff development.


Building and maintaining a positive team culture and atmosphere is every bit as important as paying the electrical bill. It’s not just something you should think about. It's something you need to start on immediately and is crucial to your school coming through these tough economic times, not just barely hanging on for dear life but charging forward.


"Enthusiasm, pure and simple, should be one of the most highly prized traits of your staff… and it’s contagious!”


15 Rock Solid Benefits of Team Building

  • 1.  Getting to know each other better
    2.  Bonding and improved morale
    3.  Building team spirit
    4.  Encouraging tolerance and understanding
    5.  Creating a sense of belonging and connectivity
    6.  Creating a climate of cooperation and collaborative problem-solving
    7.  Improving motivation
    8.  Improving communication within the group
    9.  Team development - Building a community with a common purpose
    10. Developing trust, care, compassion, kindness and creating empathy (Trusting each other
  •       AND yourselves)
    11. Building self-esteem
  • 12. Creating an understanding and awareness of individual differences, personality strengths and
  •       weaknesses
    13. Breaking down barriers
    14. Creativity - Doing things differently! Out of the box!!
    15. Higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment
  • And all the time ... Having a huge amount of FUN

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" – Plato


Understanding People & Working as a True Team Player

Quick Guide to Teacher Team BuildingFew people realize how important our individual personalities are to team/staff functioning. Many of the problems associated with team development stem directly from the interplay between the various personality types.


Every one you know has a unique personality. Each person's perspective is built in to who they are. Some people call it personality. Some refer to it as temperament. I am sure that some of your family and friends are VERY different from you. If you are like me, you have often asked yourself, "Why did they do that?" or "What were they thinking?" or "What were they NOT thinking?"


The starting point of understanding people is to realize and accept the fact: Everyone is not like you!


Have you ever said something to one person, and received a certain response, then said exactly the same thing to another person, and received a totally different response? The basic reason they respond differently is that people have different personality styles! You said the same thing, but what they "heard" was not the same.


Different is not bad, it's just different! A lack of understanding of ourselves and others can lead to real problems such as tension, disappointment, hurt feelings, unmet expectations and poor communication. As you know, it is hard to work with a problem, especially if you do not understand what is going on inside the mind of another person.


Here is the Good News

There IS a way to understand people – if you know the model of human behavior! There is a simple key to understanding how people behave and how they are motivated. This key will allow you to unlock the mystery of why people act the way they do. It will teach you the power of good relationships! It will also show you how to reduce conflict, improve productivity and relate with others in ways that are more effective!


The bottom line is that healthy, positive relationships come from having an accurate, healthy, constructive view of yourself and others.


The Model of Human Behavior

The model of human behavior is based on 2 foundational observations about how people normally behave:


Observation #1: Some people are more outgoing, while others are more reserved.

You can think of this as each person's "internal motor." Some people always seem ready to "go" and "dive in." They engage their motor quickly. Others tend to engage their motor more slowly or more cautiously.


Observation # 2: Some people are more task-oriented, while others are more people-oriented.

You can think of this as each person's compass that guides them. Some people are focused on getting something done; others are more tuned-in to the people around them and their feelings.


With both observations, we want to emphasize that these behavioral tendencies are neither right or wrong or good or bad. They are just different. We are simply identifying normal behavior styles. People have different styles, and that is okay.


So basically, we have 4 behavioral tendencies to help us characterize people:

  • • Outgoing
  • • Reserved
  • • Task-oriented
  • • People-oriented

Everyone has some of all 4 of these tendencies at different times and in different situations. However, most people typically have 1 or 2 of these tendencies that seem to fit them well in their everyday behavior. And, on the other hand, 1 or 2 of these tendencies usually do not fit them well, and these tendencies may even seem "foreign" to their approach to life. The balance of these 4 tendencies shapes the way each person "sees" life and those around them.


Identifying Personality Style & Learning to Work Together

Quick Guide to Teacher Team BuildingThus, 4 basic personality traits emerge:       


  • PEACEMAKER: Reserved and People-oriented
  • ANALYZER: Reserved and Task-oriented
  • DIRECTOR: Outgoing and Task-oriented
  • SOCIALIZER: Outgoing and People-oriented


A reserved, people-oriented individual will enjoy relationships, helping or supporting other people and working together as a team. (The key insight in developing a relationship with this person is FRIENDLINESS and SINCERE APPRECIATION.) Brings Empathy to the team.



A reserved, task-oriented individual will seek value, consistency and quality information. This person focuses on being correct and accurate. (The key insight in developing a relationship with this individual is TRUST and INTEGRITY.) Brings Diligence to the team.



An outgoing, task-oriented individual will be focused on getting things done, accomplishing tasks, getting to the bottom line as quickly as possible and MAKING IT HAPPEN!


(The key insight in developing a relationship with this type person is RESPECT and RESULTS.) Brings Leadership to the team.



An outgoing, people-oriented individual loves to interact, socialize and have fun. This person is focused on what others may think of him or her. (The key insight in developing a relationship with this type person is ADMIRATION and RECOGNITION.) Brings Communication to the team.


Studies have shown that technical skills, intelligence, education and experience accounts for only 15% of success in the workplace. The other 85% of workplace success comes from people skills! These skills are developed through learning better ways to communicate and interact.


The Elevator Test: Which Type Are You?

The elevator doors are about to close on an eager rider who is trying to get on the elevator. Four people are already inside the elevator. One of the people in the crowded box is in a hurry and does not want to wait (DIRECTOR). There is also a bubbly, energetic passenger who holds the door open while greeting the newcomer (SOCIALIZER). A third rider is happy either way and smiles while waiting patiently (PEACEMAKER). The final passenger is concerned as she calculates the weight to see if the elevator can handle another person (ANAYLZER).


While not perfectly scientific, this scenario depicts in broad brush strokes:

  • the Director (outgoing/task-oriented) person who is focused on getting somewhere fast
    the Socializer (outgoing and people-oriented) person who is energized by all the interaction
    the Peacemaker (reserved/people-oriented) person who reacts calmly and tries to get along regardless
    the Analyzer (reserved/task-oriented) person who wants to make sure the added person doesn’t exceed the weight limit!

As you can see, there were four different people who responded to the same event in four very different ways!


Learn More with Laughter

Quick Guide to Teacher Team BuildingIt is my belief that people learn best when having fun. Laughter opens up groups to their creative nature and keeps them involved and engaged.


I don't know about you, but most meetings I have experienced were heavy, stuffy, downright boring, and borderline depressing. I think as a Team Building Seminar Leader, particularly if we're coming from outside an organization, we have the license to be oddballs and to do things that get people loosened up, lightened up, out of their routine, and into their soulful potential as infinitely creative and inspired beings. We can give our participants permission to find joy in their work.


And most of you have probably discovered that it's when you're feeling light and joyful that you’re most inspired and creative ideas and solutions come forward. My goal is to energize teachers in a facilitated learn by doing, very interactive format that will leave them with a renewed spirit of unity, accountability, optimism, enthusiasm and most of all, smiles! All of which, turbo charge productivity!!! These fun and challenging team building exercises are not your typical teacher in-service program!!!


Extraordinary things happen when people are smiling and laughing.


What team building tips can you share with teachers? Share in the comments section!


About the Author:

Gail Fulford has been in the “People Business” of teaching for over 31 years and is now conducting seminars for educators through out the country. See her website at for more information or book her for an in-service team building workshop.

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