Make Faculty Meetings More Productive: 8 Tips for Principals

by | Nov 13, 2021

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Faculty meetings are notoriously known as the place where good ideas are lost and buried in a lot of other things that should have been sent in an email, but this does not have to be the case for your school!

The time you have with the teachers at your school is priceless!  This is an opportunity for you and your staff to bounce around ideas, get feedback on what is working and what isn’t, and collaborate to support one another. One of the main reasons teachers report as the reasons why they quit is because they did not feel supported by their administrators or colleagues, so this is your time to make sure everyone knows that they are heard, valued and support is available!

If you’ve been struggling to find ways to make your staff meetings engaging and productive, well, you are reading the right article!

We are here to help!

We’ve compiled a list of 8 tips for principals to help make your staff meetings something that your teachers look forward to rather than looking at the calendar invite and dread having to attend another one.

Grab your pencil and paper because the class is in session!

Analyze Your Leadership Skills

The first and arguably most important step in making your faculty meetings more productive is analyzing your leadership skills. As the instructional leader, you should know your strengths and opportunities for professional growth.  We recommend that you take the time to conduct a SWOT to identify your leadership characteristics.  The most important information from this tool is understanding your teachers’ perspectives and how they view you as a leader.

On our website, we have written an article titled, SWOT Away Doubts and Analyze Your Leadership Skills to support school leaders in this area.  The process that you can use to identify your strengths and opportunities is available below:

Strengths: List 4-5 strengths you have as a leader. Pick one and write out steps that you can take to ensure that your strength stays a strength. For example, if your strength is being personable, come up with a plan to continue this throughout the school year.

Weakness: List 4-5 weaknesses you have as a leader. Take one and develop a plan of action. For example, if you only speak to your students when they are in trouble, create a plan of action to become more involved in students’ days by visiting classrooms or the lunchroom a few times a week.

Opportunities: List 4-5 opportunities available to you. Pick one and develop a plan of action. For example, if you are having trouble organizing meetings take a day to observe a well-organized teacher’s class and take note of all of the management tools and strategies she uses.

Threats: List 4-5 threats you face as a school leader. Choose one and develop a plan of action. Keep in mind; threats are opportunities in disguise, so think beyond your typical framework (SWOT away doubts and analyze your leadership skills 2021)!

Please take this information and turn them into SMART goals, which will help you thoroughly analyze your skills and turn them into a plan of action. Smart goals are another method we describe in our article: SWOT Away Doubts and Analyze Your Leadership Skills.

  • Specific – What goal are you trying to make happen?
  • Measurable– Relate specific numbers to your goal.
  • Action-Oriented– How will you reach your goal? Identify steps.
  • Realistic– Is this goal realistic?
  • Timely– What is my deadline?

Once you have conducted this leadership self-assessment, you will be able to plan more productive staff meetings.  For example, you may learn that:

  • some topics need to be delegated to others to present because you don’t have the depth or breadth of knowledge in that area.
  • public speaking is not an area of strength, and you need some additional coaching to be a better presenter.
  • you do not know how to run a well-organized, targeted, and results-oriented staff meeting, so you need some other resources and support.

After all, isn’t it easier to plan an organized meeting if you are in the process of becoming a strong instructional leader that is highly structured, organized, and laser-focused on the bottom line: student achievement?

Create an agenda and send it a few days before the scheduled faculty meeting

Communicating what will be discussed at the faculty meeting to your faculty ahead of time is important.

This provides your staff with the opportunity to suggest topics, request time to speak or prepare for activities planned. Things work much better when everyone knows exactly what to expect.

Be Mindful About When and Where You Host Your Faculty Meetings

If you have a staff meeting every Wednesday and you find yourself sitting there making up things to talk about just because you’re supposed to have a staff meeting every Wednesday, STOP.

Showing your faculty that you value their time is essential. Forcing them to sit through a meeting that does not provide helpful information does nothing but harm your relationship and their respect for you. If you have relevant topics and instructional strategies, perfect. If not, it’s okay to skip the meeting this week!

In addition, be mindful of the physical location of your meetings. Conducting meetings close to student activities may be a recipe for consistent interruptions. Scheduling your meetings to take place outside could result in unforeseen weather such as rain or an extreme shift in the temperature. Always have a backup plan!

Define Roles for Each Meeting

It is important that you have assigned the roles of timekeeper and note keeper for every faculty meeting, but what other roles may be helpful? It would help if you had ideas about support roles that would make your faculty meetings more productive.

Many principals have found success developing grade-level teams or subcommittees to work together on activities during faculty meetings.  However, sometimes you may find that intermixing faculty in every session and assigning staff members randomly to work as a team works better for your school. Either way, knowing what you’re going to do ahead of time and planning for the transitions is key to a smooth and productive faculty meeting.

Talk With Your Faculty, Not Your Faculty

Your teachers speak to students every day, so walking into a room and the lecture is not interactive or engaging will be a challenging transition for them.

Ensure that you’re treating your teachers like they are your teammates rather than your team. Discuss ideas, encourage engagement, and promote collaboration. This approach will create a culture and climate of mutual respect, effective communication, and a community where everyone is willing to go above and beyond to achieve student success.

Develop Meeting Norms and Expectations

It’s normal for every meeting to be structured and organized slightly differently. However, the meeting structure and organizational framework should be consistent so that your staff knows what to expect.

For example, if you’ve been allowing teachers to share their thoughts and stories at the end of every meeting and then suddenly, six weeks later, there is an abrupt change, everyone is going to be confused and potentially offended. Sticking to the same structure and sequence of activities on the agenda makes everything run smoother because everyone knows what is coming.

Establishing ground rules is also an important part of faculty meetings. Things like turning your cellphone off, waiting until the end of presentations to ask questions, etc., are best practices and a universal expectation for most professional meetings. At the end of the day, though, you must collaboratively establish the meeting expectations that work the best for you and your faculty.

Involve Teachers in Leading Meetings

Involving your teachers in leading meetings is important because it reinforces the idea that their voices are just as important as yours!

While sending out your agenda before the meetings, encourage teachers to sign up to host or present at a meeting in the future. Put a sign-up sheet on the table at the end of your next meeting. Encouraging participation is a great idea that will only lead to a positive experience for your team and impact students’ success!

Get Professional Support for Your Professional Development Meetings

Having an extra set of eyes and ears to review plans, provide you with supplemental materials, and help you as you plan your next staff meeting can be beneficial!

We would be honored to partner with your leaders to develop a strategy that is tailored to your team’s needs. At CSAS, all of our consultants are seasoned educational leaders, so we’ve been in your shoes! Start by scheduling a free call with one of our expert consultants so we can learn about the challenges you’re facing. From there, we can map out a custom strategy to help you achieve your goals.

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