Teamwork and the Online School Challenge

O the teamwork challenge. I always used to dread a team project for school, working with others was my least favorite thing. I preferred to sit in the back, do my homework quietly and interact as little as possible.  Yet here I am embarking on an online schooling adventure that will require me to do just what I used to hate. I am not as afraid of it as I used to be. Part of this fearlessness comes from working for five years in a cooperative grocery store with no managers and a lot of committee and department and membership meetings. While listening to Ken Haycock’s lecture “Working in Teams”, I was feeling more and more confident recognizing the different challenges and phases of teamwork that I encounter daily in the workplace and which have become second nature to the way I communicate and learn. I mostly relate to the role of the team leader, since I take that role on at work quite a bit. I am bossy maybe, but I also value organization and clear ground rules and trust building between team members.  I am looking forward to bringing my new perspectives into the school environment, to being a full participant in a team, not neither the bossy pants nor the hanger on.

I am also very excited about how much better we as students retain the information if we engage with other students and try teaching it. It is challenging to me because I hate to stand out, to put myself and my thoughts into an arena where they can be judged.  I think I am more at ease in the online environment with all the practice Facebook brings us to put ourselves out into the world where people can vote on how clever or interesting or intelligent we are with the push of a button. My confidence in my computer and internet skills has increased dramatically in the 5 or so years since I was last in school. I doubt, however, that Library School will be as easy as Facebook.

Here is what I need to succeed (hints from Enid Irwin, who says successful teamwork is attitude plus planning.)

1. A calendar above my desk and one I can carry with me so I don’t double schedule myself. (I’ve already done that since I am both working on the 22nd and supposed to be present for an online conference – oops)

2. Taking the time to make a place daily to give to schoolwork, challenging with my other responsibilities, but necessary if I am going to succeed (6am here we come? Painful maybe, but it is usually quiet around here until 7:30)

3. Putting myself into the conversational mix outside my comfort zone. Talking to strangers is a little scary, but can be done.

So here I go, living the dream of online education, sitting in my living room in pajamas and writing a blog about children’s literature and teamwork.

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