Okay, so I’m not the only one who dreads meetings, right? A few years ago I was on a very high level committee that did…well…NOTHING! And I hated it! At first I was really excited to be a part of this group, but once we met I realized that this committee was meeting, but not meeting about much. I eventually resigned because I couldn’t stand meeting just to meet.
Honestly, I see a lot of “meeting just to meet” in education…can you relate? I’ve come to realize that meetings are made or broken in the planning stage – just like a lesson is made or broken in the planning stage! So, now’s the time to get organized and make sure that you’re entering into 2014 in a powerful meeting mode kind of way! Meet with purpose! Meet around a task! Meet to get things DONE!
It’s really very simple to get your meetings back on track – here are three very simple questions for you to ask in your planning time. (And, by the way, your meeting planning time is essentially – if you haven’t prepared WHAT the meeting is about beforehand, cancel it. Yep, cancel it until you have focus and purpose.)
Team Meeting Planning Question 1: What does the team need to hear from me?
Team Meeting Planning Question 2: What is the call to action that I need to make at the end of the meeting that will result in the team members actually DOING something in response to the meeting?
Team Meeting Planning Question 3: What will it look like when they are carrying out the call to action?
So, if I were a coach or principal, my notes might look like this:
Sample Team Meeting Planning Question 1: What does the team need to hear from me?
My staff needs to hear that our scores came back 10% less growth than last year and that we have identified 3 areas that every teacher in the school will attend to in order to make up the gap in growth.
- We will be vigilant about our instructional minutes everyday – every instructional minute will be used for teaching – we will limit transition time, putting-away-our-stuff time and returning from lunch and break times
- We will be looking at data weekly in our team meetings and will be identifying non-performing students BY NAME and will tie interventions to each student and monitor them weekly
- We will recommit to our pacing plans to ensure that every teacher is giving every student the full and complete instruction and that all students “end up” the same place and have received the right instruction
Sample Team Meeting Planning Question 2: What is the call to action that I need to make at the end of the meeting that will result in the team members actually DOING something in response to the meeting?
I will ask that each team tell the coach and myself their schedule and we will put times on our calendars to monitor the execution of those times over the next 3 months. We will also ask team leaders to attend a once-monthly meeting where they will share the progress from their teams and the team leader group will troubleshoot problems and challenges and take the information back to their team. Each teacher will get onto the pacing plan for their grade level by January 15th and the coach will monitor the quality of the instruction from that point on.
What you’ve done during your prep is gotten VERY CLEAR on what message needs to be conveyed and then what action needs to take place around that message.
You see, as leaders we have to have restraint. I’m sure that there are 157,000 things that your staff needs to hear right now, but YOU CONTROL THE MESSAGE, principal! YOU CONTROL THE MESSAGE, coach!
What’s your first step in taking control of your meetings?