Breaking Ribs for the Team
Let’s talk about morale for a moment. Sometimes, you just have to have fun. You have to break down the wall of roles, positions, etc. and just relax. Well, I have to say that our team excelled in this. It’s not easy to switch between being the teacher in the morning and being someone fun to hang out with in the afternoon/evening, but our teachers did just that. They straddled the line between the authority and just plain ridiculous. They had fun, and because of that, the students had fun. This is vital, because the students could relax and be closer to their teachers/leaders which ultimately led to good conversations.
All of this was summed up with one particular event. After playing slip n’ slide kickball (yeah, it’s totally a thing, and it was a blast!), we were cleaning up by spraying down the giant, 7’ x 50’ tarps and removing the soap and grass, or at least that was the goal. It started out as a pretty tedious task, but ended with some efficiency (or at least that is what we told ourselves.). At first we would hold the tarp up so the person with the hose could spray one side, then the holders would switch sides and the sprayer would spray the other side. This was a slow process and not very fun, so one of us (ok, it was totally me) had the genius idea of wrapping themselves in the tarp like a giant burrito so the sprayer could get both sides without even moving. Like I said…genius!
After another leader joined the burrito, the two of us continued to wrap ourselves until we reached the end of the tarp and then, well, then we discovered the problem. We couldn’t lower ourselves to the ground very easily, so to “help” us, someone decided the quickest way between two points (us and the ground) was a straight line, so they pushed us over. I wanted to yell timber because it felt like we were a tree crashing to the ground, but instead as soon as we hit all I could say was, “Ohhh…that hurt.” My ribs were broken, but it was all for the kids, right?
So why tell this story in the middle of a series on curriculum development? Well, for one reason, it still makes me laugh, but also because sometimes your team needs a little break from the serious. Sometimes the students need to see that you can have fun. Sometimes, the curriculum works better because of the way you act when the curriculum isn’t even being used. Sometimes, you just need to have fun and even though I broke my ribs, I had fun, and it is a story that will go with me for a long time.