Teachers participating in optional bonding activists to engage in collaboration


Sannidhi Arimanda

Coppell High School AP statistics teacher Lowell Johnson and STEM teacher Stan Burnett participate in Talk about it Tuesday with fellow staff members in the ROC on Feb. 1. CHS faculty and staff are engaging in optional bonding activities this semester to build relationships.

Sreeja Mudumby, Executive Editorial Page Editor

The first days of school typically consist of ice-breaker activities, to get to know our fellow classmates better. Bonding and teamwork are highly emphasized in classrooms, as they increase our collaboration skills and allow us to build relationships.

But what about teachers? 

Starting the first week of second semester, Coppell High School associate principal Melissa Arnold and other educators wanted to go into 2022 pivoting to more than just professional planning. These educators were inspired by this year’s #CHSReset. The home of these activities is in a room easily identifiable by a cutout of The Rock himself, as it is the “room of collaboration (the ROC).” This room is the forum for teacher bonding, with activities everyday to help them create a stronger connection. 

“It is very easy for a teacher to go from their car to their classroom back to their car without seeing anyone outside of tubes in their hallway,” Arnold said. “So we decided to design this semester to be intentional about providing them opportunities to be able to get with like minded people. That they would not necessarily have done so otherwise had the activities not been in place.”

Each day, the staff focuses on a different category. Mindful Monday, Talk about it Tuesday, Walk it out Wednesday, Thankful Thursday and Fun Friday. CHS assistant principal Alissa Womack leads Fun Fridays, and thinks these activities give her a sense of deep connection. 

There’s a lot of teachers in this building and as an administrator, I feel responsible for knowing my teachers,” Womack said. “It gives me an opportunity to know something about them more than just what they teach or who their students are. I get to find out really fun facts, like this one is a chef or this teacher loves to go camping or another teacher is a video game aficionado. I think it’s really important to get to know them as people in addition to professionals.”

Because teachers are confined to their classrooms all day, CHS staff made it especially important to make time to get to know one another in an enjoyable way. Staff is also focused on social emotional learning: SEL. As teachers are using this year to give SEL back to their students, they are also giving it back to themselves. 

“We’re still trying to figure out different ways for people to connect,” CHS instructional coach Clara Caussey said. “Making sure that there is, it doesn’t have to be ‘you’re here before school during this 30 minute window’, it can be just stop in [for an] SEL break.”

Some activities include walking competitions, decorating water bottles, expressing gratitude and discussions over coffee. 

Though it is optional for teachers to join, Womack encourages everyone to participate as it is easy to get lost in everyday lives and undervalue the privilege of staff connection.

“Sometimes it’s time,” Womack said. “We’re just so busy. A lot of times are scheduled for meeting with kids before school, for meeting with students after school. I think we also have our own families at home that we have to take care of, too. I don’t want a teacher to feel like it’s another obligation; it’s something else they have to do. But eventually something I’m going to put out there is going to resonate with somebody and they’re going to be like, ‘oh, I want to do this.’”


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