Ask a teacher - QA

Our pupils go on activity days and assault courses for team-building. When I asked what we do as a staff, all one colleague could think of was "hold coffee mornings". What do other schools do to build team spirit?

John, Warwickshire

A: It is so important to build a positive team spirit, especially when times get tough. Team building experiences should be fun and enjoyable as many staff don't enjoy activity days and assault courses. Why not celebrate staff birthdays and have a regular staff night out?

My memorable celebrations have included a sail on Lake Windermere, a stretch limo journey with champagne to a local restaurant and a staff weekend in Dublin. These happy memories linger for many years and help eradicate any negative experiences.

John, Wigton

A: I've never liked the idea that going white-water rafting builds a team. Extreme activities are a sign that something is going extremely wrong. Good teams share a common vision for their school, feel that their contributions are listened to and have pride in what they do. Headteachers who praise their staff, charity events where adults and children work together, and plenty of opportunities for celebrations help bond staff together.

Anne, Tunbridge Wells

A: We did an inter-school "It's a Knockout" event for staff. It was silly, ruthlessly competitive and great for bonding. We took it seriously (some took it too seriously) and those not up to the physical challenge opted for a cheerleader - sometimes "jeerleader" - role.

It cost the school little, raised a bit for charity and gave the children a laugh.

Pat, Brighton

Coming up

Q: There is no teacher union representative at my school, who do I go to first if I need to ask anything or if I have an issue with something?

Q: We have a class of 10 to 11-year-olds who are perfectly manageable with permanent members of staff, but are rude and uncooperative with supply teachers. A few have refused to come to our school for that class. What is the best approach?

Send your answer or any question you would like answered by your fellow teachers to askateacher@tes.co.uk. We pay Pounds 30 for any question or answer published.

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