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Who is the Clock-Watcher?

Each week, Instant Meeting presents an idea or activity that you might use to make staff meetings more interesting, teacher-centered, educational, or fun.

Brief Description/Purpose

Appointing a secret clock-watcher to keep meetings on track can add an element of fun to your meeting. Who'll guess the secret signal that keeps the meeting leader on track?

Materials Needed

  • A prize for the person who identifies the secret clock-watcher

Time Required

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This activity does not add time to your meeting -- it only adds an element of fun!

"Instant Meeting" Idea

"Teachers are parents too," says former principal Bill Myers, "so at after-school staff meetings I always designated one staff member as the clock watcher." The clock-watcher's job was to keep the meeting on a set agenda. The agenda allowed more time for discussion of pressing issues than for smaller issues, but the key to getting through all agenda items was to keep the meeting on track. But Myers' plan was not quite as simple as it appeared -- and it was much more fun!

You see, Myers, who is currently director of pupil family services in the schools of Sterling, Illinois, and the appointed clock-watcher agreed ahead of time on a secret "time up" signal such as a tug on the earlobe. When the clock-watcher signaled, Myers would move the focus of the meeting to the next agenda item. But who was the signaler, and what was the signal? That was all part of the fun!

"As staff members entered the meeting, each was given a heart with their name on it," Myers told Education World. "I explained that I had a secret clock-watcher with a secret signal. When the meeting was over, teachers would write on their heart the name of the clock-watcher and what the secret signal was. The hearts went into a bag and were drawn until a winner was found.

"I did not expect the hilarious ideas I got about the secret signal," Myers said. "Among the guesses were 'when Diana fluffed her hair' or 'when Gail played with her skirt.'"

The important thing was that "when the meeting ended, the agenda was complete, people were still laughing, and our collegiality was even more solidified," added Myers

Source: Great Staff Meetings: Pointers from the Principals Who Lead Them (, August 20, 2002)


This is an idea that might be repeated two or more times during the school year. Be sure to have some kind of prize for the winning guesser.