If you are a school based employee you are accustomed to attending. Staff meetings, building leadership team meetings, meetings, teacher collaboration meetings, administrative team meetings, curriculum writing meetings, study group meetings, grade level team meetings, committee meetings, parent meetings, evaluation meetings, school board meetings, union meetings etc… Where gather there is a lot of talk and discussion items. Sometimes these meetings stay focused on the particular agenda and sometimes these meeting wander off topic. Or worse yet, to don’t result in actions.
Time is a precious commodity in schools. Some meetings are valid, yet others steal time. When time is wasted, frustration builds. When developing the agenda to a specific meeting one question to ask is “Can the focus of this meeting be delivered in any other manner?” In many cases meeting topics can be addressed in writing, rather than a physical gathering. Weekly newsletters, blogs, electronic group calendars, etc… are handy tools to communicate important information.
The sole purpose of a school is the students. When meetings and professionalopportunities address the needs of students, success prevails. How can meeting stay focused on students?
One idea is to add one simple element to your meetings – An EXTRA CHAIR. This is a chair that NO ONE sits in. The chair represents THEin your school. As the meeting progresses, monitor yourselves. Are you focusing on the students and their needs? Are you creating actions that will accelerate student learning? Are you learning new skills to implement in your classroom that will enhance and student learning? What actions will take place because of this meeting? How will the actions benefit students? How will you communicate these actions to necessary stakeholders? How will you monitor the action to determine if they are making a difference? How will you hold each other accountable for the actions? How will you know to readjust the actions? How will you know actions have been successful?
One simple chair may be all that is needed to change the focus of school meetings. Give it a try. I’d love to hear the outcome.