My sister had a meeting with her principal earlier this week. At this meeting the principal inquired as to whether or not my sister even liked her school. You see, my sister apparently seems “particularly unhappy at staff meetings.”
Yeah, my sister’s principal is concerned because my sister is not enthusiastic about staff meetings.
In other news, no one in my family has ever looked forward to a getting a root canal or having to replace the transmission on a car or going in for orthoscopic surgery either.
We are just weird like that.
Intrigued by this conversation, I took an impromptu poll. And, as the students would say, “studies have shown” that no one in the history of teaching has ever enjoyed a staff meeting.
For example, there is a math teacher at my school who has an actual physical reaction to staff meetings. If they go beyond thirty minutes, he starts twitching like a junky short a fix, at forty he is shaking like a man waiting on a bathroom stall, and beyond that he starts emitting strange animalistic noises at irregular intervals.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes staff meetings are useful because one can use them as an opportunity to get grading done. And sometimes staff meetings are useful because one can find new partners for Words With Friends. Back in the day, staff meetings were occasionally a good opportunity to start a lively game of tic tac toe with that elusive, cute history teacher.
Most staff meetings, however, are excruciating. And why? Obviously, there is a need for them. So, why do they feel so useless? Is there a formula that could be implemented to make them wonderful opportunities for collaboration instead of epic time sucks?
I like the staff at my school and I respect my administrator. I have always enjoyed any forum where I feel like I can voice my opinions to a captive audience. (Hence the teaching, the blogging, etc.) I am interested in proper Common Core implementation. And I care deeply about my school and its day to day workings. And yet, staff meetings are not something even I look forward to attending.
Maybe it just runs in the family?
Or maybe we as educators need to reexamine the way we meet. Maybe we need more small-group time. Maybe we need to limit our complaining to online forums and just use meeting time to get stuff DONE. Or maybe we just need better snacks.
But we need something. Because, despite what her principal might think, my sister is not alone in her distaste for staff meetings in their current form.