GAYS MILLS - One thing I miss/don’t miss about working are the meetings. Most jobs have some kind of a meeting component. Some occupations feature meetings, usually called by ‘management,’ that are quite rare–some are more frequent. Meetings are a chance to get together with co-workers, learn new things and procedures, and feel and build team spirit. However, meetings can also be a drag.
Teachers have some meeting time built into their calendars. The school schedule will show some ‘in-service’ time, usually on a day when no students are around like on an early release day. This gives the staff a chance to learn about some new regulations coming down from above or learning about a new school-wide computer program being instituted, for example.
Toward the end of my teaching career, I felt like the junior-senior high school faculty didn’t meet often enough. I was interested in the team building aspect of getting together rather than the top-down, now-hear-this format a lot of staff meetings took. So a co-conspirator (whose initials are Chuck Bolstad) and I started calling voluntary staff meetings for whoever showed up. After the normal eye rolls that follow a call to meet, the twice monthly meetings became well attended and an important part of being on the North Crawford Team.
We met in my classroom and always met seated in a circle. Often, there were treats involved. No one was in charge. There was no agenda. The meetings were simply ‘huddles’ of fellow team members. Usually, everyone had something to say. The meetings were not gripe sessions, but more of problem solving gatherings. And, some camaraderie ensued.
A lot of people don’t realize the solitary nature of teaching. Yes, teachers spend their time surrounded by students, but once they close their classroom doors, teachers are responsible for what goes on in their domain. They are the ‘adult in the room,’ surrounded by hormonal teenagers. Talking with other teachers is very helpful in being an effective educator.
Meetings are an important part of the FFA (Future Farmers of America). One of the main goals of the FFA is to develop leadership skills and organizing and taking part in effective meetings are an important part of that development. The regular monthly chapter meetings are held at North Crawford during the activity period. The officer team plans out every meeting in advance, prepares a detailed agenda and involves as many members as possible in the meetings. It was always a satisfying thrill for me to see a nervous young member smile with pride after standing up and giving a report to their peers on a field trip, judging contest, or community service project.
I was part of a group once that held monthly meetings. If a meeting was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., the start was often delayed 20 or 30 minutes as committee members straggled in. A new president proclaimed that the meetings would start promptly at 7:08 or some other specific time–and low and behold, people started showing up on time.So meetings are an important part of life. I don’t go to as many meetings these days as I once did, but I still appreciate a well-run meeting.