The dreaded word... Team Building:

What word can instill the fear in even the most courageous of people? Team building!

Normally when this word crops up in conversation, it forms part of some corporate jargon, and is used by the ‘higher ups’ to try and foster unity amongst teams with the hope that they will work more cohesively and this will increase production.

People, or at least the British, will picture being packed off in some form of uncomfortable coach, or cramped in a minibus, to a field in the middle of nowhere with awful weather, and it’ll be grim, grey, and wet, when someone mentions the phrase ‘team building’. It might involve some orienteering, or, if you’re lucky, paint balling.

What is something that people also hate? ‘Forced Fun’.  But fun needn’t be forced.

Often, it might be the case in the office that as a teacher, you’ll chat with all the other teachers, and you’ll work alongside your PAs to make sure everything runs smoothly with your lessons, and that parents are happy. You might chit chat with the CCs when you have demos/OPTs/TPTs (or when they chuckle about your Chinese from the other side of the room), but do you really get to know everyone properly and work together as one big family often?

Everyone, of course, has the social circles in which they swim, that is just life, but it’s always good, once in a while, to have some ‘forced fun’.


However, how can we make ‘forced fun’ actually fun? The answer, of course, is competition!

Many of the staff at CD5 already go to the gym together, so it seemed a logical choice, that sport be the way to channel this competitiveness. Joyce, our CM, was of course on board, as there was a sports centre right next to her flat so she just had to step out her front door! As our CM, Joyce, said on her WeChat that day, this type of team building makes for a happy and healthy team!

Swimming, badminton, and swimming were the choices of the day, with many of the foreign teachers discovering that many of the local staff don’t know how to swim, whereas it is a skill inculcated in us in primary school in the UK. Unfortunately, we were limited to the shapes we could throw into the pool, so no bombing, and no gymnastics or 1 ¾ somersaults/rudies from me.

n the other hand, they can be a force to be reckoned with on the ping pong table or badminton court, with lots of fierce competition, and only the odd insult traded across the court. It was also a great way to get the team to interact cohesively as one big family, and prepare themselves mentally for a day of teaching.

Whilst some of us were swimming and throwing ourselves into the pool, our 美女们 (our beautiful ladies) decided to soak up the sun and take ALL the selfies!