Putting the 'me' in team

Robert Elwell
Redwood Falls Gazette

Since I was a little kid I have always been a part of a team.

There have been youth sports teams, various extra-curricular groups, our team at Redwood Valley Middle School and Redwood Falls and the surrounding communities.

My teams have been of all sizes with various purposes.

Regardless of the team, there has always been a consistent theme that “there is no “I” in team”.

I cannot tell you who is credited with first saying the quote, but I can tell you I have heard it more than once in my life. It is a common battle cry used to bring a group of individuals together to a common focus, to achieve a common goal.

However, one thing that is rarely discussed is the “me.” What is the “me” in team?

If we are supposed to come together on one common focus, where does the “me” come in?

Our Redwood Area schools have their “me”.

I see our staff on a daily basis adjusting their classes to meet the needs of students in a unique learning environment.

I see our paraprofessionals taking on new responsibilities to connect with students, both in and out of the building.

I see our office staff balancing plates of all kinds to keep traditional systems moving and supporting staff, students and families with the new.

I see our maintenance and custodial staff implementing new methods to ensure our buildings are safe for all.

I see our food and transportation services constantly evolving to meet new requirements.

I see our health office staff working tirelessly to keep everybody in our buildings up-to-date on the newest information and safe.

Our students have their “me.”

I see our students adjusting to our current “normal.” We have asked our students to play a key role in maintaining a safe learning environment, and they have knocked it out of the park.

I see our students learning in a previously unheard of model. Our students are connecting with their teachers more than previous years and taking more ownership of their learning. I see our students striving to thrive and learn, regardless of the challenge.

Our community has its “me.”

At Redwood Valley we pride ourselves on the strong relationship and support we have between the community and school system. This year this connection is even stronger.

I see our community members wearing masks, socially distancing and being responsible when gathering. I see our community members doing the things we need to do to continue to have students in our buildings every day.

The “me” in team does not mean we do not share a common focus, nor does it mean that one part is more important than the other.

The “me” represents the individual responsibility we have to help the team move towards that common focus.

Communities, students and schools are being asked to do something that none of us could have imagined at this time last year, but supporting and educating our students is still our focus.

I see our team working every day to do just that.

The challenge now is to keep being great at “me” and watch our team succeed.

– Robert Elwell serves as the principal for Redwood Valley Middle School