Students arrive in three working days.
The only thing I want to do is work in my classroom. But there are meetings. Obligatory attendance. Would admin know if I skipped?
I admit these feelings as a trained administrator, knowing the importance of the pre-service meetings. If I were to write objectives for the meetings we have had, they would be as follows:
- Build a positive school-wide and divisional culture
- Inform both veteran and incoming faculty of the annual school-wide goals
- Create vision for how faculty and staff fit into the aforementioned goals
- Review policy and procedures, making sure all teachers hear the same message and can communicate the same message to the parent community
- Build knowledge of assessment practices
- Demonstrate how teachers can access student learning data from previous years
- Teach teachers about new hardware and software
- Discuss and set protocol for meetings (updating policies and procedures, with teacher input)
Then there are grade-level meetings, the objectives of which are as follows:
- Establish a feeling of “team” and a culture of trust. Both are important for a Professional Learning Community
- Set up meeting protocols
- Examine the first units of the year, striving for alignment of student learning objectives
- Assign “extra duties”, deciding teams of teachers who will plan units, lead out in camp planning, grade-level transitions, and more
- Share ideas and resources
And, there are ad hoc meetings that
- Further educate teachers on the use of technology
- Check-in with new teachers and their mentors
- Further inform grade level leaders and curriculum leaders of the divisional vision for the year, establishing protocols and timelines for how the school-wide goals will be accomplished.
Every year, teachers believe they do not have enough time in their classrooms – it takes me roughly 8 to 16 hours to set up a classroom. Every year, administrators do their best to consider the necessity of classroom set-up with the desire to move a school forward in terms of strategic plans. Could some of these meetings be eliminated? The objectives are sound.
I suppose it’s a bit like the book Zoom, where the focus begins in one small place and expands. As the focus expands, the reader sees where all the pictures “fit”. In the context of pre-service school, we zoom into our classroom, then we zoom out to see the bigger school-wide goals, then we zoom back in to see how we fit into those goals. Zoom in – zoom out. Repeat.