It is rare that I do not hear on a nearly daily basis of an example of the value of teamwork.
Businesses are searching for employees who can function in a group and respond as a team. High-paying positions are given to persons with the skills to get along with fellow team members.
One of the important parts of the education of our boys and girls falls into the category of learning to be a productive team member.
Our students have a variety of events that help them learn the skills of being a successful team member. These skills include, but are not limited to understanding one’s role and responsibilities to the team; setting goals as a team; doing all that each team member can do to help the team reach their goals; working to get along well and working together for the benefit of the team; and refusing to be a part of any divisive issues that team members will likely encounter.
I could list others, but the idea is the concept of individual member sacrifice for the overall accomplishment of the team.
The examples of these programs start in our classrooms. While classroom work is often based upon a student’s desire to accomplish a good grade, more and more activities are being organized as group activities so that our students can learn the important characteristics previously listed.
Classroom group projects help our students prepare for the adult work that we all will do. Science lab projects, research work in a variety of classes, group oral presentations and many other activities are a part of our students’ learning environment.
There is no better example of the importance of these characteristics than have been demonstrated by our Brown County Junior High School We the People teams.
Our We the People students all have specific speeches to write and research to do on the U.S. Constitution. They have spent considerable hours of work preparing for first, the state competition, and now, the nationals, which will be conducted in April and early May.
They have worked as a team to collect over $35,000 to fund the trip. Parents and our community have supported this effort with generous donations.
They have set a goal of winning the national contest. Win or place, they will return to our community as a successful team for the experiences they have had, the knowledge they have gained, and they will ultimately serve our country in many ways in the future.
Helmsburg Elementary School’s Science Bowl team recently won the Indiana State Science Bowl Competition. These students and others in our district have worked together in pairs, in groups and as schoolwide teams to compete with the top science students in the state on a project-based learning experience, which will prepare them very well for a future in the field, if they choose to pursue such a vocation. We are very proud of all of our students who compete in state and regional competitions.
Other teams are equally valuable to our community. Athletic teams learn about teamwork from their first day of practice. Both team and individual sports athletes must function as a team to be successful.
In our modern society, we emphasize individual efforts with media publicity and public recognition. The leading scorer on the basketball team relies upon their teammates who rebound and pass the ball to them. The quarterback and the running back on our football team rely upon the linemen to protect them and open holes through which to run. The top players on the tennis teams will win individual matches, but three members must win for the team to win.
Players all have roles to play on their teams in order for the team to be successful. This learning process is why we have extracurricular athletic teams.
Our successful Brown County High School Theater Department finished in fifth place in the Indiana Thespian Competition this year. They have won state on two occasions. All members of the troupe must do their part for the presentation to be a success.
Our high school show choir is working hard as a group and they are showing much progress as they aim to become an elite show choir.
The high school band is aiming to become a contest band. Many of our students are accomplishing these ends as they work together.
I am trying to say that our school program provides a variety of opportunities and events for our students to showcase their skills and their knowledge.
All of these are accomplished with the intent of developing their skills to make them successful and contributing adults. After all, that is both the purpose and the value of the process of education.
Thank you to all the members of our community who support our boys and girls to help them achieve their dreams and goals in life!
David Shaffer is superintendent of Brown County Schools.