as published in "The Christian School Builder" (August 1996)
Simply defined, a faculty meeting is a meeting of the teachers, principal, one or more board members, or any others directly involved with the teaching program of a school. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss day-to-day school activities. Traditionally, many Christian day schools have functioned well without special faculty meetings. But if communication between the school administration and teachers is difficult to achieve or if teacher-to-teacher sharing is needing improvement or if teacher enthusiasm is lacking, perhaps having faculty meetings will enhance the school program.
An effective faculty meeting should provide for interaction among the teachers. Teacher interchange is essential for efficient everyday school operation. Group activities, practical teaching aids, supply sources, and grading patterns are some things that can be discussed and shared. Interchange among teachers can add stability to the uncertain new teacher and can give a more objective view of classroom problems. These meetings expose each teacher to the broader scope of the school. Each teacher can then benefit from the comments of the others.
The faculty meeting provides a way of control that enhances teacher interchange by bringing all the teachers together in one place and directing the tenor of the conversation. Teachers need not be formal, but extreme casualness can be detrimental.
Teachers need concrete conclusions in solving problems they face. Sharing with other teachers does not always suffice to give direction. For example, after we have looked at various angles of what to do with student activity prior to school time in the morning, finally what shall we do? Some situations need more than options to give the teacher the needed peace about a problem. Firm administrative direction will be appreciated, even though he or she may not totally agree on what is advised.
A faculty meeting is a good place for sharing school board decisions that involve the teachers in a general way (Individual teacher concerns should be shared privately) Things such as school trip dates, school calendar changes, dress regulations, and behavior problems can be shared at this meeting. New teachers can be oriented to the particular practices a school may have, such as the school bounds, recess procedures, and play area or restroom conduct patterns. Often teachers need reinforcing in school regulations. The faculty meeting is a good place to give this direction.
Teachers should leave the faculty meeting encouraged and inspired to go on in their work. The meeting should begin with prayer and inspirational thoughts from the Scriptures. The one in charge should keep the discussions on a spiritual basis, using and seeing the Holy Word as the solution for all situations of life. The Bible is the source book of acceptable human behavior.
Teachers can gain the often-needed encouragement by hearing and seeing what other teachers do and sensing the interest and support of those administrating the school. Encouragement from others is an incentive to developing and continuing in the teaching skills.
Schools that do not presently have faculty meetings should not begin to have faculty meetings for the sake of innovation. This is not reason enough for changing a school's method of communicating if it is working. On the other hand, the faculty meeting may well serve as a tool to improve school communication and relationships.
Faculty meetings are not an end in themselves, but rather the means to an end. That purpose is effective, efficient intraschool communication that enhances the day-to-day work of the school. Properly conducted faculty meetings fulfill this purpose.
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