Sunday, October 18, 2015

Walking Dead In Schools: Faculty Meetings

BEWARE!!!! ZOMBIES AND AUTHORITARIAN CULTURES ARE NEAR.




Several weeks into the new year, I am already hearing the same horror stories. The stories of destroying culture and creating zombies. Yes, it's near Halloween, but it doesn't have to be this way. 

What is it? 

Traditional Faculty Meetings.


We know what they are, and we still subject our staff to it!  Yes, it's where the leader lectures the staff from a piece of paper and takes an hour out of their lives that they will never get back. 

Waste of time. Things to do. Yet, it's the time for the leader to stick his or her chest out, and says "now hear this."

Does your entire staff attend your meetings? Do you have part time staff, coaches, advisors, people away at PD, vacation, sick, something else? Why not share your message with all instead of most? 

For those who are willing to set aside their soapboxes and egos, here are just a few ideas to make faculty meetings meaningful. 

* Flipped meetings: Send a short 3-5 minute video explaining what needs to be shared, as well as, recognizing deserving staff (especially those who don't get recognized as much). Putting yourself out there, true transparency, promotes the idea that your looking for staff to mix it up in their studios (classrooms) as well. 

* Allow staff to present great and/or bad lessons they did with others.  How many teachers work in schools for years and never share their great stories with others.  This quickly opens into a great Q & A session. 

* Place photos of each student in the hallway and have staff discuss what motivates them.  How many times does someone know something about a student, but doesn't share it with the rest of the team?

* Allow staff to turn-key information they learned from any PD they recently attended. 

* Talk about how genius hour projects can become Passion Projects throughout the year. They can take place in each class instead of just one. 

* Back channel the meeting to allow the quietest person on your team to have a voice. Demonstrates how students and staff use this during lessons. 

* EdCamp style- Need I say more? Create the board during the day and let the "rule of two feet" happen!

* 20% Time: Allow staff throughout the year several meeting dates to work on 20% time projects that they never had time for before. 

* Have students present to staff. What apps/websites are they using that staff don't know about. Allow them to teach your staff. Is your culture and climate in need of a fix? Surprise staff by having students come to meeting and share what they love about their school. Have the school band, theater club, or any other club in your school perform for staff. 

* Set up dates for PLC meetings.

* Scavenger hunts. 

* Set up dates to analyze curriculum, data, or any other items that need to be addressed. 

* Skype, GHO, FaceTime- set up meetings with other educators, schools or companies who are looking to help your staff. 

* Share inspirational video clips and have a group discussion. 

* Bring food! Cooking contest? Pot luck anyone?

* Hold raffles for new items such as furniture, donated items, or even a free dress down pass. Be creative. 

* Have a Maker meeting, where staff get to see play, passion, and purpose first hand. 

* Have design thinking sessions!

* Select a few dates throughout the year to allow staff to reflect. Yes, let them write! Give them time to sit down and write down thoughts, before they go home to family duties , head to a second job, grade papers, or anything else in their busy schedules. 

* Email an agenda and DON'T hold a meeting. Let them have a meeting off or two. 

* Have a Twitter chat where staff can be anywhere instead of a room. (Thanks Mark French). 

*ADD YOUR OWN, AS THEY ARE NOT THE BE ALL, END ALL! NOR, AM I THE EXPERT THAT ALL MUST FOLLOW.  

THINK OF WHAT THE EXPERIENCE YOU ARE TRYING TO CREATE WHEN IT COMES TO FACULTY MEETINGS.

If they didn't have to attend, would they? Do they come to the meetings happy, ready to see what's next or are they unhappy, geared up for bingo, papers to grade, or a device to text? 



STOP BEING TRADTIONAL. Stop being a 2nd rate replica of who taught you. It DOESN'T always have to be that way. 

These are times, where so many positives could come about: such as meaningful PD, collaboration, culture/climate building, and making a time where they want to get together. 

If you are TRULY a 21st century school leader, then why does it still happen?  Step up, rise up, and make a difference before you create zombies and destroy your culture.