Being a head teacher now it’s become my responsibility to lead most of our faculty meetings and to try and improve relations between foreign teachers and the school. One of the best ways to improve a work environment is to improve the relationships between coworkers– and one of the biggest problems at our school is the physical and cultural divide between faculty members. Our building is actually split down the middle between the 4-5-year-old classes and the 6-7-year-old classes, and of course our staff is made up of both Koreans and westerners.
Today was our monthly long meeting for September and I was in charge of planning it once again. If you remember, last month we did a Teachers Workshop and it was mostly a disaster– nobody wanted to be there and half the staff was griping and grumbling throughout. I decided we needed to do something goofy to get everyone on their feet and interacting with each other in a friendlier way, so I picked the theme of team building! I have fond memories of summer camp that gave me the idea. It’s been a busy week so I didn’t actually get to plan or prepare anything until the last minute, but it actually went over really well. I am really pleased tonight.
To start out, we did an ice-breaker where everyone had to fill out a survey with questions such as:
- Have you ever gone bungee jumping?
- Were you born after 1987?
- Do you speak more than 2 languages?
We had to find someone who could answer “yes” to each question, but we couldn’t list the same person more than once. When I passed out the paper everyone looked at it with a scowl but once we stood up and started asking each other (and it was announced there would be prizes), everyone eagerly talked to one another– and I met some people I’ve seen around the building but never talked to before. Everyone was in a good mood after that activity, so I was really pleased!
After that we played Two Truths and a Lie. Everyone split up into teams by their age group and I pulled names from a hat. If your name got pulled you had to say two truths and a lie about yourself, while each team tried to figure out the lie. Lies correctly guessed got the team a point, and everyone on the winning team received a prize. Again everyone was skeptical at first but we learned some unique facts about our co-workers and it went really well in the end.
Last we split up into even smaller groups and played the human-knot game. Everyone was skeptical (always skeptical!) but once they understood the concept they all tried it. I was so pleased to see everyone was enthusiastic and cheerful. Generally long-meeting days are a drag and everyone leaves pretty resentful about having had to stay late.
Most of the time I don’t, but today I felt like a good leader that could actually help make our school community a friendlier place.