Quiet laughter can be heard from AP Language teacher Macey Godfrey’s room as Madalyn Taylor, another AP Language teacher sits by her desk long after the students have left. The pair is supposed to be planning for the last six weeks, but they get sidetracked for a few moments and share a laugh. Though a new one, the friendship between Godfrey and Taylor had blossomed rapidly this year after finding out how much the two team members have in common.
“We both love the Astros and love our dogs. We also have the same teaching/planning style in that we love to have things organized, planned, printed and ready to go way ahead of time. I think planning makes us both feel accomplished,” said Godfrey.
Taylor and Godfrey soon discovered in their new friendship they had not only similar interests, but teaching and planning philosophies. This correlation helps the two enormously as they both teach AP Language and must work on the same team together.
“Working with someone you are friends with is amazing. It is not always the case, but it is nice to have someone who you know is teaching the exact same things, so they can help you troubleshoot, plan and even just be there if you need someone to vent to. I think being friends allows you to get past the awkward ‘formalities’ that most other coworkers have to go through and you can just relax and do what you need to do because you know that person isn’t judging you and that they are on your side,” said Godfrey.
Having someone one can turn to on a stressful day is a great tool to have to take a break in the middle of a hard day. Once teachers can get to know their team members personally and maybe even develop a friendship, they can feel free to be themselves and have an overall more enjoyable work experience. Two teachers who know this narrative well are WHAP teachers Jennifer Hitch and Monica Birtwistle.
“Ms. Birtwistle and I have become friends over the course of the year. We both enjoy history and have a lot in common. It was my first year teaching at Tompkins, but it was easy to make a friend in the department quickly,” said Hitch
Having a friend in one’s subject department in the school can make a first year teacher’s experience that much easier and more enjoyable. The other teachers can take her under their wing and show her the ropes, all while creating a friendship based on common interests. Having someone to guide one along in a new workplace can be immensely helpful in the transition process
“ Ms.Hitch and I as well as Miss Williams, the other AP World History teacher, work well together and get a lot done. We all get along very well which makes planning fun and easy,” said Birtwistle.
Similar to Godfrey, Birtwistle notes how helpful how being able to have a friendly relationship with the other teachers on ones team can make planning enjoyable. Friendship brings about cooperation and understanding, two things that make group work productive. It also helps that one can take a relaxing break to laugh with their colleagues in the midst of sometimes stressful planning and collaborative work.