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Introduction Are You a Team Player? Are you a team player at work? Most people think they are, yet many people really aren’t team players at all. So what is a team player? A team player in early childhood education is someone who puts the needs of the children and their families before anything else. Team players believe that the care and edu- cation of children and their families is the primary goal of the profession, and they will do whatever it takes to make those interactions and experiences pos- itive and meaningful. Team players are focused on working hard even when others aren’t. Team players don’t just point out problems or areas that need improvement—they fix them. Team players follow the rules, help other adults succeed, and genuinely love their jobs, never expecting recognition or praise. Team players are all about doing their jobs well despite the attitudes of others, overcoming barriers—even when it’s easier to complain—and think- ing about the needs of others before their own. Sound like a tough job? You bet. That’s why most of us aren’t team players all the time, and that includes me. Putting others first in a me first society is not an easy task for anyone, but it’s an essential attribute when working with young children, because they depend on you. What Makes a Team Player? Many factors determine a team player in any field. Good team players i Work together toward a common goal i Understand that although different jobs have different responsibilities and accountabilities, all positions on a team are equally important I 5