A few months after Be a Good Teammate was published, I found myself standing at the end of my driveway waiting on the school bus to pick my daughters up for their first day of school. My daughters were insistent that I use my phone that morning to record a video of them before the bus came.
I wasn’t sure what they wanted to film, but I didn’t think it was a good time for them to play with my phone. I eventually caved, however, and I am glad I did. Their video captured a cute, unsolicited, iconic moment in our lives. With complete sincerity, my daughters looked into the lens and, in unison, said: “First day of school and we’re going to be good teammates this year.”
If you’re new to Teammate Tuesdays, you should know that I originally wrote Be a Good Teammate for my daughters—which made their video especially meaningful to me. Filming a first-day-of-school-and-we’re-going-to-be-good-teammates-this-year video has become an annual tradition.
I share these videos on social media every year and often use them during my speeches. I think they are evidence of the influence the “good teammate” message can have when it is emphasized and nurtured.
My daughters went back to school this week, and keeping with tradition, we filmed another video. But this year’s video had a different vibe. COVID-19 restrictions have delayed their return to brick-and-mortar classrooms. Like many other students, my daughters are starting the school year through distance learning.
In years past, I would ask my daughters when they got home from school if they made any good teammate moves that day. As I filmed their latest video, I wondered if my question would still be valid. How could they make good teammate moves without being at the school? After contemplating the issue, I have decided it is definitely possible. Here are five ways virtual students can be good teammates:
1. Treat your learning guide (parent, grandparent, older sibling, etc.) with the same respect that you would your brick-and-mortar teacher. The person monitoring your schoolwork deserves your gratitude and your respect. Be kind to them and don’t cause them added stress.
2. Stay connected with your virtual teacher. Maintaining radio silence is not an acceptable communication strategy. Respond promptly to your teacher’s emails. The quicker you respond, the more appreciated it will be. Delayed replies lead to delayed learning.
3. Turn in your work by the required deadlines. Don’t force your learning guide or your virtual teacher to hound you about missing assignments. Be considerate of their time by taking initiative and adhering to deadlines.
4. Use caution when handling/moving your device, avoid consuming food or drink near your device, and keep your device’s battery charged or its AC cord plugged in. You can’t learn from a disabled device. Carelessness could cause an unnecessary, and completely avoidable, interruption.
5. Be on the lookout for confused classmates. If a classmate or learning guide posts a comment about not understanding an assignment or being unable to find the assignment’s instructions, share what you’ve discovered with them. You may be able to help them quicker than your teacher.
6. Give your teacher a “virtual” apple. Leaving an apple on a teacher’s desk is a time-honored method for expressing gratitude. Distance learning can be as frustrating for your teacher as it is for you. Sending your teacher an e-card, a scanned copy of a drawing, or even a GIF letting them know you appreciate their efforts will be a treasured “good teammate move.”
As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.