Using Technology to Engage Teachers in Faculty Meetings
It seems obvious to note that if teachers did not fill our classrooms, whether they be virtual or brick and mortar, schools would cease to operate. Administrators and school officials alone cannot educate the hundreds, if not thousands, of students who come to school each week. With that said, it would also seem that teachers therefore have a significant impact on the way in which their schools are run. Ironically, though, despite their absolute necessity, one of the most common complaints from educators is feeling as though they lack influence within their workplace.
Many of these complaints stem from attending faculty meetings, meetings in which teachers often feel out of the loop, and out of control. To better engage teachers and capitalize upon their invaluable expertise, schools should consider implementing the following strategies during faculty meetings.
Flip the Meeting
Flipping the classroom is a common strategy used by teachers to more effectively introduce students to the content being taught. Students are often assigned readings, videos, or other mediums of information to be completed, read, or viewed outside the classroom. Once inside the classroom, the teacher can aid the students in applying the knowledge they have already acquired.
This strategy saves time and allows teachers to focus on ensuring student understanding. The same idea can, and should, be applied to faculty meetings. Rather than spending time at the beginning of meetings laying out agendas and providing background information, administrators should disseminate important information via technology before gatherings, saving both time and resources.
Use Technology to Encourage Teacher Voice
Another way to save time in faculty meetings is to allow teachers to have a say in what is discussed. To do this, administrators can use technology to encourage teachers to speak up before a meeting. For example, sending around Google documents to request input is one way to provide teachers the opportunity to express concerns, needs, and wants.
Once the input is collected, administrators can determine from the list the most relevant and prominent talking points for the meeting. In this way, teachers can also help to shape the agenda for the upcoming session. Similar to flipping the meeting, gathering teacher say before a meeting can save everyone time, but more importantly, can encourage greater teacher participation if they feel as though they are being heard.
Targeting Teacher Frustrations
The bottom line is this: teachers are often overwhelmed and sometimes frustrated by decisions they see as outside of their control. Faculty meetings in which teachers are not made an active part do not help to quell these frustrations. In turn, administrators must navigate the waters of high demands on school districts and overworked educators in their classrooms.
However, schools can, and should, take an active part in encouraging internal cooperation where and when they can. Technology can be an invaluable medium to do so, transforming tedious faculty meetings into productive and influential brainstorming sessions. Progress, after all, cannot be achieved alone, nor can it be achieved in a silo.