Sample Letter Asking Parents For Support In Dysfunctional Team Situations


To the parents of [list team members’ names]
I am truly sorry to have to write this letter, but as our situation stands now, I see
no alternative. I’ll come straight to the point. Our Odyssey of the Mind team is not
functioning in a satisfactory way. I have spoken many times with the children
about this. I have explained that I could not and would not coach a team that
continued to show disrespect for each other and for the team meetings. Odyssey
is an organization for which I have a great deal of respect and to which I give a
lot of time. The team members need to have an equal amount of respect.
This year I have seen a big split in the team. Some of them are eager to work,
while others seem to be marking time. I don’t have the time to spend several
hours each week meeting with kids who cannot focus and work together as a
team. This is not to say that I am not interested in them. I am. I care about each
of them. It is because I care that I do not want to see this experience wasted.
This group deserves better than what is currently happening.
Will you please talk with your children about their interest in Odyssey? Find out if
they really want to participate. I am concerned about their commitment because
[give examples of behavior that has been unacceptable]. This behavior is not fair
to the team, and I will not be able to coach this team under these circumstances.
They know that the Spontaneous portion of the competition is worth 100 points.
Nevertheless, many of them are not willing to work on this. The acting may be
the most fun, but the work behind the scenes, the stuff that no audience will see
or clap for, is what makes a successful team. In fact, this is the work that gives
the children the greatest lifetime rewards. Your children need to be willing to do it
all, to accept responsibility for it all, and to accept my decisions if they want to
remain on the team.
Before we go any further, I need a firm renewed commitment from each team
member. I really have been asking for this at each meeting and don’t like some of
the attitudes displayed at our meetings. I need your help. Please talk to your
children and make a decision so that we can get to work. Odyssey means
commitment, it means working as a team, it means being willing to do what
needs to be done for the good of the group, and it means hard work as well as
I am sorry that this comes to you as a letter. I don’t have time to make individual
telephone calls to talk about it, and I didn’t want to take up your valuable time
trying to schedule a meeting of all of the parents. I am very frustrated, but not yet
ready to give up. Please let me hear from you by letter, e-mail or phone call by
__________(date). Thank you.


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