Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.
Change can be difficult. This quick and fun idea is especially useful when you need to introduce a change that might not be widely applauded or accepted.
This activity can be accomplished in one minute at the start of a staff meeting where you plan to introduce a change that might generate some backlash.
"Instant Meeting" Idea
This totally simple idea is a fun and effective way to make the point that "change is not always easy." If one of the topics of your meeting is to introduce a change that might not be widely accepted or applauded, this simple exercise can set the tone for a discussion about how best to confront and manage the necessary change.
As you demonstrate, invite everybody to fold their arms in front of their chests as they might do if they wanted to give a stern warning to students without using their voices. (You might even have them stand up -- as if they were standing in front of the class -- to do this.)
Once all staff members are comfortable in that position, ask them to try to fold their arms in the opposite way to the way they have them folded.
Watch as many staff members wrestle with trying to get it right -- trying to fold their arms in a way that is not as natural to them.
Point out how that simple activity emphasizes how difficult change can be.
When the going gets tough -- when the backlash to change gets loud -- refer back to the activity you introduced at the top of the meeting, then state that you "understand how difficult change can be" but that you're sure that soon this change will seem as "natural as folding your arms in a stern warning to students."
Source: "Great Staff Meetings: Pointers from the Principals Who Lead Them" (EducationWorld.com -- August 20, 2002)
The book Who Moved My Cheese? is another useful tool for helping teachers deal with change. A section of the book, called "The Handwriting on the Wall" distills the book's simple message: Change happens. Anticipate change. Monitor change. Adapt to change quickly. Change. Enjoy change! Read about a principal who used the book Who Moved My Cheese? with his entire staff in the Education World article Principal Uses "Book Talk" to Engage Teachers as Learners.
In future meetings, where the topic of change comes up, you might remind teachers of this activity.