Consign all but useful meetings to the bin

5th December 2008 at 00:00
Shout about what makes you happy sad or mad .

Is there a greater waste of teacher time than meetings? Never have so many people gathered together to listen to so little of note enunciated to so many bored and tired people who want to do just one thing at the end of the day - go home.

Schools have form teacher meetings, briefings in the morning, departmental meetings, head of department meetings and pastoral year head meetings. I believe passionately that the majority of these are unnecessary. Most seem to be held from habit and, in my opinion, sometimes just to keep teachers in school. Look at the school calendar at the start of the academic year. Meetings will pepper the pages standing as ever present sentinels to the forthcoming waste of teacher time.

How often is an agenda apparent? Are these meetings anything other than a monologue from the headteacher? Is there meaningful debate? How often are there action points for specified people to undertake?

Teachers mostly sit silently at these meetings, thinking of all the school work they still have to do at home while valuable time is wasted. Where is the gesture to work-life balance that is required in the school workforce agreement? Too often a one-hour meeting drags on with often meaningless drivel as people who like the sound of their own voices drone on, requiring simmering colleagues to stay. Have they no homes to go to?

Schools need to consider making meetings more positive and focused and to have less of them. If they want to transmit information, they should use the school bulletin board.

Any meeting needs a strong chairperson, someone who will shut up the teacher bore who keeps on about their favourite educational hobby horse. Above all, do not use an overhead projector. Talk is better than presentational gizmos.

Consign all but useful meetings to the educational dustbin. However, please don't hold a meeting to decide how

Jim Goodall is a retired teacher from Torfaen, South Wales.

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