With faster broadband speeds and easy access to the internet there is really no need to hold meetings in school. At the end of a long day or crammed into a lunchtime is often not the best time to hold an important meeting. A novel approach may be to schedule it for an evening when everyone is at home when they are more relaxed and fresher. The website www.anymeeting.com makes this all possible. Its free to join although you do have to pay to get rid of adverts and allows you to hold meetings remotely. You can upload presentations on which you could have the agenda and you can communicate to each other using your computers microphone or by simply writing messages. It may also take away some of the confrontation away that can exist when staff are tired and irritable. You can also record the meeting too -dangerous!. Give it a go and see what happens. Please comment freely. If you already doing this using a different site or piece of software then please let me know.
Unfortunately from time to time in the world of teaching you can encounter another member of staff that seems to be making your life difficult. This may include
talking to other people about you behind your back.
deliberately putting your ideas down during a meeting.
criticising you by e-mail and copying other people, often senior people into it. The cc and bcc are rarely used carefully.
greying matters by telling half truths.
talking to the students in their classes about you. A false and wholly inappropriate way of them gaining respect.
If you think this is happening to you then the worse thing you can do is to do nothing. You must confront the person directly and take the following steps
Ask the person that you would like to talk to them privately – don’t do this by e-mail, keep it all face to face.
Tell the person how they are making you ‘feel’. The key word here is ‘feel’. They won’t be able to argue with a feeling but can argue with facts which they can say are not true.
Say that you would like it to stop otherwise you will be taking it further. Stress that you wanted to deal with the matter informally first.
Keep things short and to the point. Keep it firm but friendly.
Keep a record of it yourself in writing with a date but don’t send it to anyone.
I think it is really important to deal with the matter yourself. Don’t tell other people that you are going to do it or discuss extensively with other colleagues. You may end up being as bad as them! Make sure you are professional at all times.
Next time you agree to give up your weekend to do go on a Duke of Edinburgh Expedition or drive a minibus on a Friday night in heavy traffic to take students to a debating competition think about this poem called the ‘Indispensable man’. It’s also a good poem to think about when you are in a meeting and you are about to thrust your point forward at the expense of everyone else. I remember once in my previous school a teacher that had been there for 30 years said to me “I don’t know how they will find replacement for me, they will need to find two people to replace me”. Well they did replace him and the school moved on. Usually you’re only as good as the next person. Enjoy your life and don’t let your work rule you.
Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego ‘s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.
The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.