18 Comments

  1. Good for you! Our first all school faculty meeting is coming up on Friday, followed by a divisional meeting on Monday, and team meetings and another all school meeting on Tuesday before the start of school on Wednesday. The understanding among the faculty (the reality) is that we have to be totally prepared for school before our first day faculty meeting. There is just no time to work in our classrooms once the whirlwind begins. While I realize that we need to hear about new policies, meet new faculty members, and come together again as a school community I question the effectiveness of these beginning meetings. My mind is usually on the details of beginning the year, and it's difficult to wrap my head around any philosophical discussions.

    • George

      There is definitely time for all of those things and we will be able to connect. I think that time before school starts is best spent with family and enjoying the "outside" school stuff. I believe in a "balanced" teacher because they are happier and relate to students better. Just my opinion.

      Thanks for your comment Julie and I hope you have a great year :)

  2. You are absolutely right! We have 3 straight days of PD that sucks the life out of you! Our Open House is the first day of school, so we are all freaked out about getting our rooms ready. I know several teachers that sneak back to the room as soon as the principal leaves…it reminds me of sneaking out of church when I was little. Everyone takes their turn so that the media center isn't empty!

    • George

      I love the "sneaking out of church" analogy. Actually made me laugh out loud! I actually discuss with my staff beforehand that they are going to have time so the expectation is that they are fully engaged for the short time we will be together. They gladly take that and are appreciative of the time.

      One thing that is important to me is that I do connect with them. It is really hard to do that in a large group so I usually stop by and visit with every staff member just to hear about their summer and have "small talk". Better to do this on an individual basis than in the large group!

      Thanks for your comment Kelly! I hope that you have a fantastic year. Positive attitudes always eventually overpower negative so keep your chin up.

  3. You are exactly right about professional days and how teachers are thinking of many other things. In our district we have three days of professional development and 1 of those days is devoted to working in our classroom (this was something we were able to get worked into our contract). The other two days are spent in meetings (1 day for our school and the other for our district). Typically we go over new curriculum or being trained in a new textbook series. We go over improvement plans and a number of other things. We are usually fried at the end and sometimes upset because we find out new initiatives we are suppose to enact for the year and we do not have time to reflect and think about how it fits into our schedule. I know scheduling our Prof. Dev days are hard within our contract, but I would love time for team meetings with colleagues to plan and work in smaller groups to go over initiatives. Would put me at ease at times. This year it is even worst for two of our schools as we enter into new buildings with a great technology (for me the technology is not as difficult as for some of our teachers)!

    Good Luck with the upcoming year!

    Joe

    • George

      Reflection is important. Mentioning things that will happening in the year is always a good idea because you give staff time to think and reflect upon it, but your term "fried" is something that I hear. Everyone comes back refreshed and ready to go, but it is like working out; if you haven't been in practice for awhile, you still need to get accustomed to the day to days of teaching. I want my teachers refreshed and ready to go. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Justine

    One of my former administrators began to have less meetings at the beginning of the year, as well. It was nice to have more time in our classrooms. I still worked late a few nights to be ready but it was so nice to have more time. I really appreciated it. One principal I worked with allowed us to bring work with us to meetings. We could cut laminating or put names on items while we listened. I liked that too. The first day back they would also have continental breakfast and let us catch up. I think we were a little more focused in the meetings we did have because of the changes they made.

  5. Angie

    In our board we have 1 PA day prior to the start of the school year.

    Teachers come in & set up their rooms on their own schedule since we aren't expected to be in. I guess our classrooms are suppose to be magically set up without time. This makes it hard to collaborate with others because staff come & go on not set schedule. Our PA day is a health and safety focus. That's important but one can only watch the slips, trips & falls video so many times without laughing. I wish you a good start & yes feed your staff breakfast!

    • George

      I hope you have a great start as well Angie! Any video that is over 5 minutes long is way too much for the first few days, even it is watching people fall!

  6. You are very wise to not keep your staff longer than 90 minutes. That simple thing will go a long way to getting your teachers behind what you want to do this year.

    Breakfast is a good thing. Little gifts (like flash drives you buy on sale at Staples with school money–my former principal did this) also help.

    I have a new principal this year. I hope he is as wise as you.

    • George

      I agree…the little things go a long way. I try to write something meaningful to each staff member in a card at the beginning of the year. Want to let them know right off the bang that they are appreciated. Do you think we can write cards too much? I never want it to seem insincere.

      Thanks for your comment and have a great start to the year.

  7. sophea ly

    What are the best gifts to give or provide to new staff that just come to work first day to make they feel good or warm welcome from company or org?

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