Every week teachers everywhere collectively spend hundreds of thousands of hours sitting in various staff meetings.
And let’s face it, sometimes they seem to drag on a bit and we end up just ‘waiting’ for them to finish.
I’ve had the privilege to be in the leadership role at staff meetings (leading my own team of staff) and I have also sat through many staff meetings where I am the listener and the participant.
Perhaps you have to meet with your team leader each week? Perhaps you are involved in leading the staff meetings at your school or university? Do you often think, “What will I do in staff meeting this week?”
I’ve jotted down ten different things you can do to add some spice and life into your staff meetings.
1. Pick a ‘theme’.
Pick a ‘theme’ for each meeting and let your staff know ahead of time. Ask staff members to share some of their own examples – this creates expectation and ownership. Themes might include curriculum specific areas (e.g. how to teach addition) or more general areas (e.g. classroom management tips).
2. Break into groups or pairs.
Break into groups or pairs and give a question or topic to each group. Then ask each group to share with another group and/or bring everyone back together to discuss.
3. Read an article.
Read an article from a journal or magazine – give everyone 5 minutes to read the article and write down one thing they learned/noticed whilst reading. Then ask them to share with each other or with the group as a whole.
4. Ask a teacher to present.
Ask a teacher to present – perhaps they have been to a Professional Development day or they have a particular skill. Ask them to share for 5 minutes.
5. Mix up the agenda order.
If you always have coffee at the end, start with it. If you never provide afternoon tea, buy a cake. If you always start with a certain agenda item, mix it up a bit and grab everyone’s attention. Do something different.
6. Change the physical location.
Hold your staff meeting in a different room, or on the verandah, or in the library on bean bags… wherever you can meet that is a bit different to normal. If your physical meeting place is fixed, then change the direction of the chairs or sit in a different spot – keep it fresh.
7. Choose an end time and stick to it.
There is nothing worse than a meeting dragging on and on… And on and on…. We have all been in those meetings and they simply are not productive. Be disciplined and if you can influence the end time of a meeting then do it. Finish. Things CAN wait.
8. Engage as many staff members as possible.
Throughout the meeting, consciously plan to help staff members engage and re-engage. Make specific eye contact, ask questions, tell them to write something down – keep them engaged and focused.
9. Use multi-media where appropriate.
We have so many resources available to us to help us reach our audience, so use them. Show a video, play a song, use your iPad to illustrate your point, use the smartboard to help the meeting run smoothly. Use multimedia to bring some zest and interest to your staff meeting.
10. Be present.
When leading a meeting, be there. Really be present. Be aware of each person. Take notice of each person. Keep your eyes on how they are going – are they getting tired? Is it time to get them to have a discussion? Is it a quick-stretch time? Be present and aware of what’s going on. Focus more on the people attending your meeting rather than on the agenda you have to cover.
11. Help teachers think.
Help teachers think about something, even after the meeting has ended. Give them something they can take home, even if it is just in their minds, to provoke their thinking. A story, a question, a topic, a discussion starter… anything to engage them after the meeting has ended.
This week’s assignment:
– If you are the leader of a particular meeting in your school, then choose one of these 11 things to help spice up your staff meeting this week.
– If you attend meetings in your school, forward this email on to someone who might need a few ideas for spicing up their next staff meeting.
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly,
Enjoy the moments.
Question: What do you find most frustrating about the staff meetings in your school? What do you suggest to change them? Leave your comments here.