The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

Daytime Staff Meetings, A New Idea

Great school organizations learn together. Our staff is comprised of dedicated, intelligent professionals, so for us, there are a lot of new ideas and capacity to help one another grow. With that said, we find ourselves challenged for the time and place to have “the big discussion.” In an attempt to combat our limitation of time, and to overcome the challenge of having a big picture conversation with a group of 40 people, I spent some time developing a new idea (with the help of one of my mentors, Dan Hickey ) that debuted at our school today.

Rather than having a traditional after school staff meeting, I met with teachers on their conference period in small groups. I let our staff know about this idea several months ago so they could plan ahead, giving up a conference period is a major time commitment, and I appreciate it. While I attended the same meeting 6 times, each group had an outstanding conversation. I found that meeting with small groups allowed me to talk with everyone and hear from more people. For conversations about professional practice, this may be a better approach.

I enjoyed my time with our teachers today, I had some music playing as they came to our conference room before we opened with a quick statement about the purpose of our daytime staff meetings (to have dialogue about “big picture” issues), then moved into an activity to connect us to our topic. By asking teachers to describe how they feel when they are motivated, it opened the door to a conversation about the work of Daniel Pink. We took some time to watch an RSA video (below) about the book “Drive,” that related to motivation.

After the video, we had a discussion about Dan Pink’s argument that monetary rewards are not motivating for tasks that require cognitive skills. We talked about the implications of this for teachers and students. Listening to our staff talk about their views, ideas, and reflections on what motivates them as adults and our students was inspiring. We closed our meeting with an open conversation about any topics that teachers wanted to cover.

After school, I sent out a survey to get feedback about the meeting, and some links, including:

For those curious about more information about Daniel Pink, here are some links:

For those of you who walked away saying “wow, that was great music John was listening to when we got there”, a link to the album information: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=8285

Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to send out some short articles as a follow up to (hopefully) keep teachers thinking about motivation. I hope that this effort leads our teachers to reflect on their own practice, their students, and how they communicate and collaborate with one another. In addition, I hope that this serves as a good opportunity for teachers to get together and talk about topics that will lead to professional growth. Organizations that learn together are built to last, my biggest goal for our school.

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4 thoughts on “Daytime Staff Meetings, A New Idea

  1. Pingback: ❂ Daytime Staff Meetings: A New Idea (mrbernia) | Ryan Collins

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  4. Pingback: Smarter Balanced Assessments, change for the better? « The Principal's Principles

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