10 Things Teachers Think During Staff Meetings (But Don’t Say)

I see you, fellow teacher, sitting in the back of the faculty, department, or staff meeting. It’s the end of the day, you’re exhausted, and the thoughts in your head aren’t exactly positive and glowing. They might not even be “school appropriate,” as your administrator goes on in great detail about the new rules for monitoring the state-mandated tests.

“My Hero” Worksheet- Lifes skills

With that in mind, here’s a helpful guide for keeping your communication sounding professional and upbeat, even if what you’re thinking isn’t quite so cheerful.

  1. When they try to make you sit beside people you don’t normally sit with …

What you want to say:

“I work with kids all day long. Some days I don’t even see another adult until 3:30 pm, and now you’re telling me I can’t sit beside the people I want to during this meeting? No. No way. I’m leaving!”

Try instead:

“While it would be great to collaborate with the people I work best with, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to get to know the teachers I never see or work with on a day-to-day basis.”

  1. When they tell you they should be able to get you out of the meeting a little early …

What you want to say:

“Oh, yeah? We were supposed to get out of the last eight meetings early, but each time you talked for 20 minutes about things that could have been covered in an email.”

Try instead:

“Wow, that would be wonderful. It’s always nice to have a few extra minutes at home with my family. I hope we can make that work.”

  1. When they try to “liven things up” by making you play an icebreaker game …

What you want to say:

“I sang, danced, cheered, cajoled, begged, and entertained children for eight hours today in an attempt to help them learn. No, I do not want to play a fun get-to-know-you game right now!”

Try instead:

“It’s always interesting to see how our students might feel when we ask them to do things like this, and it definitely is worth the 15 minutes of meeting time we’re spending on this game!”

  1. When they start talking about people getting a little “lax” about the dress code …

What you want to say:

“We get here early each day, have recess, lunch, and bus duty; stay late to tutor and are on the ground, standing on chairs, in the halls, and running around trying to get these kids to learn. But you want to make an issue of how often we wear golf shirts or capri pants to work? Are you serious?”

Try instead:

“I understand the need to maintain a professional environment. However, this does need to be balanced with the physical expectations of the job.”

  1. When they hint that some teachers may need to give up their planning periods next year …

What you want to say:

“You better not come into my room and tell me that, if you know what’s good for you!

Try instead:

“That’s an interesting suggestion. I think perhaps the teachers should look at schedules to see if we can come up with a way to meet the needs of our students while still maintaining our contractually mandated planning time.”

  1. When they tell you just how many days this summer you will be expected to attend mandatory PD …

What you want to say:

“Are you freaking’ kidding me?!?!?!”

Try instead:

“I’m sure those days will be well planned and valuable. I will have to see if those dates work with my family’s already set travel plans.”

  1. When they try to use technology and fail miserably …

What you want to say:

“Remember last week during my informal observation? The WiFi wasn’t working, and you wrote in my evaluation, ‘In the future, it would be wise to have a backup plan for when technology fails.’ Remember that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

Try instead:

“Technology. Am I right?”

  1. When they ask for everyone to quiet down, but the teachers around you are still talking …

What you want to say:

“It’s not me! I’m not talking! I just want the meeting to get started so it can be over and I can go home!”

Try instead:

Nothing. You keep kids quiet and on-task all day long. It’s their turn now.

  1. When they imply more teachers might be sharing classrooms next year …

What you want to say:

“Ok, there is no way I am sharing a classroom next year. I have seniority. I shared a classroom five years ago. It’s someone else’s turn. Don’t even think about putting someone in my room!”

Try instead:

“Can you explain how the decision about who will share rooms will be made?”

  1. When they tell you it’s the last faculty meeting of the year …

What you want to say:

“Oh, thank the teaching gods! I am SO DONE with this year! I’m not sure I could have taken another one of these meetings! Get us out of here—NOW!”

Try instead:

“Wow! This year went so fast! I can’t believe in a few more days the kids will be gone and another summer vacation will start!”

We hope you find this handy guide helpful as you head into your last few faculty meetings of the year, teachers! Let us know if we missed any essential positive communication translations in the comments!


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