April 29, 2012 6 Comments
The other day I was playing around on my computer while waiting for to board a plane. I was finger-surfing on my iPad for articles on “flipping the classroom.” There’s been a lot of buzz about flipping the classroom, including here on The Bubbly Professor and lots of other blogs, and it’s such a great concept for teaching that it’s become my newest endeavor to read everything I can on the subject.
About ten minutes into my web surfing session I read a statement that literally changed my life. How often does that happen?
The statement was part of the introduction to what appeared to be a great article on flipping the classroom. I say “appeared to be” because I never read the rest of the article. This one sentence was so powerful I turned off the iPad, pulled out one of my handy-dandy yellow pads that I do all my “real” work on, and started writing. My work life was forever changed!
Here is this powerful sentence, a verbatim as I can remember: “Do you leave meetings with more work to do than when the meeting began?” Um…heck to the yeah. Not only do I leave meetings with an elongated list of things to do, so does every poor soul who has ever attended a meeting that I was in charge of.
This one simple, brillant, concise sentence was my personal dear-in-the-headlights, “a-ha”, life-changer moment. If you are the author of this sentence, please contact me. I want to read the rest of your article. I want to give you credit for this idea. Most importantly, I want to worship at your feet for the rest of my life.
My True Story of Meeting-Flipping
About two months ago, I had a faculty meeting. My ten or so extremely hard-working, dedicted, brillant faculty members and I gathered around a round table and I led what I thought was a productive meeting. The agenda was distributed in advance, we had a lot of things to go over, and we have a lively discussion. Success!
In my old (pre life-changing moment) way of leading meetings, it was a success. But in my new way of thinking….what a waste of time!!! Argh!!! Here’s why: one of the items on my agenda was this: Annual Faculty Development plans due by April 1! What actually happened during my “successful” meeting? I distributed some information that could have been done just as easily (and much faster) via email, and everyone present left my meeting with “one more thing do.” No wonder people dread meetings!
By the way, how many faculty development plans were turned in by April 1? Do I even need to tell you??? Zero!!!
The New Meeting World Order
Here’s what I did last week at my faculty meeting. When I sent out the meeting invitation I told everybody…we will complete your annual faculty development plan at this meeting. Please start thinking about what you would like to do this coming year in order to improve your teaching ability. This can include conferences, seminars, courses you’d like to take, professional certifications you’d like to achieve or anything else you can think of. See you next Friday!!!
Faculty Development Friday
When the meeting came around, we met in the same conference room around the same table. But this time when our hour was up, no one left the room groaning that they had one more thing to accomplish in an already busy schedule. And everyone had a completed Annual Faculty Devlopment Plan. And it was so easy.
To start the meeting, I gave everyone a blank copy of our faculty development plan template. I had everyone fill in their name, anniversary dates, employee Id numbers, all that stuff. Then, we went down the list of items to fill out.
First item – Professional Certification: “What professional certifications are you interested in pursing this year? Who wants to work towards their CEC? Great, what are the steps. Study, take the practice tests, take the written test, take the practical exam, complete the final application packet and mail off. If you are interested in the CEC write these steps down in section one and fill in the completion dates that will work for you. Who would like to pursue a CSW? Great, what are the steps? Get a study guide, study, take the practice tests, review with your mentor, take the written exam. If you would like to pursue a CSW, write all that down in section one and fill in the dates that work for you. And so on, and so on…in about 15 minutes we had all finished section one.
Next section – Training offered Internally: “Everyone write these down…Sticky Teaching on May 15, Brain Rules for Teachers on June 12, Bloom’s Taxonomy on July 25 (etc, etc.). These are the faculty development sessions that I will conduct in house. You need to try to attend at least six of these and when you do, make sure to note on your faculty development form three take-aways from each session that you plan to use in your teaching in the coming year.” Ten minutes later…section two done!
Next section – Training Obtained Externally: “Here’s a list of classes and workshops offered on-line. Two have already been budgeted for each of you. Pick the two that most interest you and job them down. If you have a conference or convention in mind that you’d like to attend, write it down and we’ll try to get it inthe budget.” Twelve minutes later, section three done.!
Final section – Classroom Observations: “Everyone write down the name of the class you are teaching this semester that you would like me to visit in order to conduct a classroom observation. Same thing for next semester. When the Fall and Winter schedule comes out, be sure and update your plan and let me know which class you’d like me to visit.” Ten minutes later, we’re done.
One hour from start to finish and everyone has their faculty development plan done. Everyone got to benefit from the ideas and challenges of their colleagues. Everyone is excited about the opportunity to be a better teacher. Everyone, including me, gets to check one big giant thing off of their big giant “to do” list.
What else can I say? I’m a meeting flipper for life. And if this was your idea….make yourself known!