HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal


The Advice Booth: Faculty Meetings to Look Forward to

by Rachel Levitt Klein Dratch Issue: Educational Innovation Prizmah

Dear Prizmah Coach,

I can deny it no longer: My staff hates faculty meetings.
What can I do?

Sincerely,

Well-Meaning Principal


Dear Well-Meaning Principal,

I hear you. We have all inherited systems that no longer serve us, but they remain ingrained in the school schedule, so we use them because:

  • We are afraid that if we write an email, no one will read it. So we use meetings to announce things instead.
  • If we stop having meetings, we will never be together, and it is important to at least see each other and build community.
  • If we only have meetings “when needed,” then no one will come. Therefore, it is better to keep those we have on the schedule so people expect them and plan accordingly.
  • Staff will be staff… they will complain no matter what we do, and there is nothing you can do to change that, so do not change the meetings.
  • There is too little time to actually accomplish anything real, like professional development, during a short faculty meeting.
  • And more…

Here is the truth—and I am going to tell it to you simply: YOU ARE WRONG. Yup. There it is, my friend. All of those reasons not to change—they are based on incorrect assumptions. But do not worry-we can help you. It’s time for a PARADIGM SHIFT.

Imagine, if you will, a faculty meeting where the team shows up, eager to get together. The administrators greet the team members at the door, welcoming them in by name. An agenda has been sent out in advance, and as teachers walk into the room, there is food, maybe music, and an atmosphere of welcome. What? You say this is too difficult? It takes too much time? Well, my dear principal, THIS meeting is YOUR lesson. This is your chance to model what you want to see in the classrooms. If you are late, unprepared, frontal, boring, and do not seem to have put in time to design a worthwhile program, then you are saying to your team that this is OK. Do not allow yourself those excuses. If you have a meeting planned, then make it count.

At Prizmah, our Educational Innovation team and coaches work with school leaders to rethink what effective, meaningful—and dare I say it—FUN faculty meetings might look like. We would love to hear about your success stories and challenges. Please be in touch at racheld@prizmah.org.

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Commentary: Innovating in Depth

Something I have been focusing on quite a bit as of late is the idea of innovation in education......

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Educational Innovation

The articles in this issue represent the balance between the old and the new, sacred and profane embodied in Jewish history. The issue tells the story of the drive for innovation in modern education that has gained strength in recent decades. It features efforts to learn from, adopt and adapt innovative programs and pedagogies from the larger educational universe, even as authors advise caution, patience and planning around such changes.

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