Team Trust, a Touchstone for this Time (Pt 1)

We have a touchstone called “trust” on our school team.  We need it more than ever right now.

A Time of Tumult

The overwhelm, anxiety, and stress are higher than ever in schools, whether your school is in-class, hybrid, or virtual.  Teachers are shouldering an incredible weight amidst their heroic work.  I can see it in responses to everyday school occurrences:  school-wide writes, student-led conferences, spirit week, or parent communication.  Everything has a bit more challenge and so everything has a bit more edge.

To touch into the concerns, I first wanted to listen.  I started with a simple check-in at our morning meeting.  “On a scale from 1-10 where are you at today and what would you need to do to improve your score by one point?”  It was worse than I thought.  Teachers were concerned about their students, the community, health, and the outbreak across the street hadn’t even happened yet.  The tensions were palpable.

An Incredible Gift

Yet, what happened next was even more incredible!  My colleague, our K-5 Team Lead, celebrated the teachers.  She named and welcomed their trusting feedback.  The teachers were, yet again, courageous to tell the truth.  It was a beautiful gift to our community.

These few moments in a morning meeting were an example of how I want our team to “give and receive welcome,” a Touchstone of Trust we learned from the Center for Courage and Renewal.  The welcome is to show up as a whole and integrated humans.  It isn’t about masks or facades; it’s about authenticity and vulnerability.  We become more elastic and emotionally agile when we can acknowledge our truth.  I want every team meeting to be this welcome for our educators.

So now, our team is circling around the notion of trust again.  We need trust for the emotional labour of this time.  I am inviting more trust into our circle.  And, we need trust to have candid and honest conversations in our schools, about what matters most.

How will you cultivate trust on your team in your next meeting?

For the sake of the children,

Karine Veldhoen