Let’s be honest: Faculty meetings are often dreaded, and they sometimes feel like a waste of time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can lead meaningful faculty meetings that motivate teachers and improve student outcomes.
6 Tips to Lead Meaningful Faculty Meetings
Are you tired of leading meetings that could’ve been an email? The tips below will help you transform your faculty meetings into a positive, productive experience for all involved.
1. Set a purpose.
Faculty meetings are not for transmitting information and making announcements. Some of your disgruntled employees are right: That could be an email.
Your time and your teachers’ time is valuable. Use faculty meetings to build relationships, focus on professional development, solve problems, and make decisions. At the start of the school year, communicate that this is the purpose for faculty meetings going forward.
2. Develop a meeting agenda.
Similarly, every meeting needs an agenda. The agenda should be sent out at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. This gives your staff time to review the agenda and prepare.
The agenda should include information such as:
- 1-2 sentences clearly explaining the meeting’s overall purpose or goal
- Location, time span, and necessary materials
- Agenda items and projected time spans for each item
- Questions to encourage advance reflection (e.g., “How can we address the tardiness issue without having students miss even more class?”)
A well-prepared agenda tells people why they are there and demonstrates that you value their time. In addition, it gives them an idea of how and when they can best contribute.
3. Create small groups.
To personalize meetings and increase participation, assign small groups for your staff. 4-6 people per group is ideal. You can assign groups randomly or to create a mix of subject areas and grade levels. Change the groups every 5-10 meetings.
Within each group, have staff members select roles. For instance, you may have a timekeeper, recorder, discussion leader, speaker (who shares out with the group), etc.
At a minimum, have teams talk at the beginning of each meeting to share a recent teaching success. Then, have groups summarize proceedings and takeaways at the end of each meeting. Typically, you’ll also want to facilitate small group discussions throughout your time together.
4. Make the physical setting comfortable.
It’s important to have a comfortable physical settings that encourages collaboration.
Seat faculty members at tables arranged in a semicircle or U-shape if possible. Music, natural lighting, and pleasant aromas can also enhance the mood of your meetings.
Additionally, colors play a role in mood. Yellow evokes cheerfulness and warmth, while blue stimulates trust and tranquility. Meanwhile, green signals productivity and forward momentum.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to have refreshments. Meetings usually occur after school, when energy levels are low. Snacks and drinks provide a welcome energy boost. Plus, they’re a nice gesture that your staff will appreciate.
5. Ask thoughtful discussion questions.
It’s vital to get your staff members actively involved in the meeting. Discussion questions are a great way to do so. First, have your teachers discuss questions in their small groups. Then, the speaker of each group will summarize their responses for the whole group.
Examples of meaningful discussion questions include:
- What’s working and what’s not working? Why?
- In what ways has our school community changed for the better? Or, in what ways can our school community improve?
- What’s something important that you learned this week?
- Recently, who or what has inspired you?
- What are the characteristics of success? How do you promote them to your students?
Of course, your questions may change depending on the focus of your meeting. But opening the meeting with a thought-provoking question gets ideas and communication flowing from the start.
6. Stay open to feedback.
Make it clear that you want faculty meetings to be productive, meaningful, and a good use of everyone’s time. Have a Suggestion Box in the meeting room. Encourage faculty members to suggest ways to improve, as well as topics for future meetings.
When they know that their input is valued, teachers will be more open to participating in meetings. As a result, you’ll get more out of your meetings–and ultimately, so will your students.
Final Thoughts: How to Lead Meaningful Faculty Meetings
Faculty meetings don’t have to be a drag. By following the tips above, you can create stimulating, productive faculty meetings that make a difference for your teachers, students, and school.
Set a purpose, plan, create small groups and collaborative discussions, and ensure that the physical setting is comfortable. Encourage feedback, and don’t forget the snacks!
As you unite, motivate, and engage your staff, faculty meetings will become something to look forward to and celebrate.
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