What Teachers Really Think During Staff Meetings

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Staff meetings are one of the necessary evils of the educational world. Every once in a while you need to get the entire team together to disseminate information and plan things out. However, it always seems like staff meetings occur at the absolute worst possible time. Do you have 100 essays to grade and lesson plans to finish? Then I can almost guarantee you, an hour-long staff meeting is heading in your direction like a shark in the open water. We’re not saying that staff meetings are completely useless, but there are a few things that run through our minds every time we have one.

1. Where’s the food?


The fastest way to a teacher’s heart is through their stomach. We don’t need 7 course meals but if you want to get us excited about going to a staff meeting, a box of doughnuts wouldn’t hurt. Or some wine. Are you allowed to have wine at staff meetings? Probably not. But we totally should.

2. Wasn’t this in the email?


There’s nothing worse than reading a 3-page email from administration explaining everything in painful detail, only to hear them read their email verbatim to you in a staff meeting. Either send the email and let us read in peace, or just surprise us with the information at the actual meeting. At least then you’d have some built-up suspense about it.

3. This has nothing to do with me.


Spending 30 minutes discussing a field trip for 3rd graders is sometimes necessary, unless of course you don’t teach 3rd grade. Is it rude to start playing Candy Crush on your phone while the Middle School team discusses graduation plans? Maybe, but forcing me to sit through long conversations that don’t pertain to me isn’t exactly Emily Post-approved etiquette either.

4. Do we really need another team building exercise?


We spend countless hours day after day with each other. We swap stories, eat lunch together, commiserate about what’s not working, share ideas, build each other up, and work together as a team every, single, day. Do we really need to split into teams and play Lesson Plan Scavenger Hunt again? If teaching in the same building doesn’t already make you a great team, I’m not sure what will.

5. There is no way I’m getting all that done.


Especially as we near the holiday season, staff meetings become flooded with announcements and plans regarding 75 different parties, parades, assemblies, dances and other assorted events. Suddenly there are spreadsheets and money order forms and kids bringing in snacks left and right. And remember those lesson plans you spent all weekend crafting? Well go ahead and throw those in a blender and hit frappe because your plans didn’t include any of that.

6. How much longer is this going to take?


Teachers are busy people. Many of us have kids of our own, multiple jobs, and a list of errands big enough to wallpaper our house with. Time is one of the most precious commodities we have, and when we see it slipping away it can throw our entire world into chaos. Staying at school an extra 15 minutes can seriously alter how much time you can allot yourself at the grocery store to pick out the perfect bottle of wine to drown your sorrows in. See if they just allowed wine at staff meetings, we’d be all set.


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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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