School Faculty Meetings: Purpose and Planning
Simply defined, a faculty meeting is a meeting of the teachers, principal, one or more board members, or any others directly involved with the teaching program of a school. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss day-to-day school activities. Most schools have it once or twice a month after school hours.
What is the Foundation of an effective School Faculty Meeting?
Meetings should not simply be conducted to provide information to teachers. That can be done via notices or emails. Instead, meetings should fulfil the basic purpose – building relationships among teachers. Many teachers feel isolated from their colleagues, which can in turn make them feel alienated from their work. Building relationships with colleagues is necessary for them to feel engaged.
Faculty meetings is one of the few occasions when the entire staff is together. This provides a great opportunity to focus on professional development of teachers. When organised properly, faculty meetings can also become a forum for input on critical decisions.
Collaborate and Develop Norms
Clearly articulated and agreed-upon norms for expected behaviour contribute to an atmosphere of trust, which is itself essential for successful collaboration. At the first meeting of the year, the principal should facilitate the collaborative development of such norms, which will be based on the values, expectations, and past experiences of staff members.
Begin with a discussion. For example, ask your staff, “We have all been part of a team. In any team there are certain rules or expectations for how we will behave. What are some of the rules or expectations that you have for this team?” Note their responses on the board or a chart. Discuss and set ground rules with mutual agreement. Also, discuss the value of having a set of basic agreements for faculty meetings.
The Meeting Agenda
A meeting agenda provides staff members with a guide to the proceedings and encourages them to focus on upcoming tasks. Without an agenda, staff members may have trouble with the meeting's purpose.
When teachers help shape the agenda, they gain an increased sense of ownership for the meeting. Be sure to set a deadline by which teachers must provide topics in advance. When submitting items, teachers should include their names, the topics they wish to address, and the resources and approximate amount of time that they will require.
The notice for the meeting should include the agenda so that everyone has an idea of what to expect. A quality meeting agenda should include – overall purpose, names of who must attend, approximate duration, location, any advanced preparation of required, and the queries that will be addressed.
Bonus Tip: Keep some refreshments if possible. Refreshments can provide attendees with a physical and psychological boost. This is particularly important because most faculty meetings occur after school, when energy levels are low. Food and drink can also facilitate community building by encouraging socialization among participants.
This article has been inspired by and contains excerpts from an article on ascd.org. Read the original here.