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Les Potter is currently the director of the American International School West in Cairo, Egypt. Les has over 40 years in educational leadership in the US and Egypt and most recently has been a...
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More Effective Staff Meetings

Here are several suggestions to have a more effective meeting.

With the use of technology, staff meetings should not be the old “stand and deliver type” but a sharing of new knowledge/ideas, teaching strategies, learning communities, etc. The usefulness of staff meetings should not be determined by a meetings time or format as much as the purpose of and need for the meeting.

Administrators must plan staff meetings carefully. Informational meetings can be waived in favor of e-mail messages. Staff member’s valuable time should not be wasted by calling an all-staff meeting to distribute information that can be read or that pertains to only half of the staff. This can cause teachers to tune out office communications. Then like the little boy who cried wolf, when something really important surfaces, teachers won’t be listening, won’t show up or will be late.

Staff members should be treated as professionals and their valuable time should be safeguarded. Meetings should be short and to the point. You can meet again about that topic but don’t hold faculty for hours at a time and expect to accomplish much.

Use meetings for relevant staff development training given by administrators, fellow teachers, guest speakers, or central office personal. Remember that if the meeting is important enough to require staff members to attend, administrators need to be there as well. Show support for the program. Do not get a “sage on the stage” that is, someone who will discuss in 30 minutes or less the merits of a new educational philosophy to try at your school. There is usually no follow up and teachers think “here we go again” and little is ever accomplished. Involve staff members in planning and presenting to ensure that the program is relevant to their work.

You don’t have to always have an all-staff meeting. I work at a pre-K through 12th grade school so we break down our meetings to relevancy. Many teachers might be involved in a meeting and some may not at any one time. We may also have several meetings going on at the same time on various topics.

The following questions can be used to gauge the importance of a meeting:

Why do we need to meet?

  • How is the meeting going to help the students learn? Don’t call a meeting just because it is the third Wednesday of the month. Although it is not a bad idea to have a specific day, time and place for a meeting, when you decide to call a meeting. This can eliminate some confusion. Give staff members plenty of notice. Some may have daycare issues, doctor appointments, etc.
  • Be clear when, where, and why you are having a meeting. Broadcast it so everyone knows about it and can’t use the excuse of “I didn’t know”.
  • How does the meeting relate to the goals of the school? This process is very helpful to your school’s climate.

Faculty meetings can be time consuming and tiring for the presenter and listeners -- make them as effective as possible.


Les Potter, Ed. D.

American International School West
Cairo, Egypt