School Meetings: What are they about?
I’ve had to attend numerous meetings throughout my career, and it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. I’d often get bored, start looking around or doodling.
Today, I want to discuss which meetings are the best to attend to ensure one’s personal growth, development, and usefulness.
Each educational institution or organization has staff meetings approximately once a week. Some even have it 2-3 times a week, which is a bit excessive, in my personal opinion. Educators need time to reflect, analyze and act upon the received information, so, therefore, three times a week can take some valuable working time.
Types of meetings
Let’s break down the most common ones.
1) Meeting for local staff in their home language.
In most instances, one will be asked to attend. Yet, it wouldn’t be beneficial, especially if the person doesn’t speak or understands very little of the home language in which the meeting is conducted. In China, it’s usually done for the“face,” basically to take a picture and advertise having a foreign employee. Don’t be shy to talk to your supervisor about this kind of meeting and to ask to skip it sometimes. This time can be used much better for lesson planning and preparation.
2) English teachers meeting
This is a good one. Here educators can find out about new updates, voice their opinions and ideas. Even though most of the time, institutions you’re working in already have their established rules for classroom management and programs they use, they are eager to hear about new ideas their foreign teacher has to share. Said ideas might not be used 100% of the time, but they might still pass through depending on whether the supervisor considers them good enough.
3) Training (inner session)
For inner training, teachers are given a task (e.g., developing a new demo class or perform a mock lesson). They show it to each other in turns and comment on the overall performance. It’s an excellent way to get feedback, especially for the new teachers, or learn a few more tricks from the experienced ones. Don’t be afraid to act it out the same way you’ll do it in an actual class, even though adults are acting as your students.
4) Training (out session)
This one can be tricky. Sometimes the school would consider changing their curriculum, inviting an agent to tell them about the materials. As a teacher, one doesn’t really need to know how much profit can be made for the reselling, how many schools already use it, etc. And YES! It is usually held in the local language.
This kind of meeting was one of the primary reasons which inspired me to write this article.
Just about a few weeks ago, I was invited to one. Our company was considering switching to a curriculum from Singapore, and the training lasted eight hours. EIGHT!
All that time, we listened to how professional the writers are, the revenue, how smart everything is put together - but nothing about how to actually approach it and use it in the classroom. There was staff from several branches attending, and from eighty participants, there were only about five foreigners. So if there’s a chance to skip - go ahead!
But - if the school informs you that they already bought it - follow through. It’ll be a chance to learn how to properly use the materials and apps, increasing your lesson’s productivity. Hopefully, you’ll get a good and professional trainer. That can give you some tips on teaching, helpful advice on how to approach this program, what games to play, what music to use, and so forth, which is excellent for new teachers.
Apart from the meetings and training provided by the school, it's always a good idea to improve oneself by obtaining necessary certificates like TEFL/ TESOL, for example. Attending meetings outside of work on the topics you're interested in, talking and asking for advice in chat groups or forums from your fellow ex-pat teachers, looking for new materials that all can be very beneficial. There's no limit to perfection, so carry on!
In conclusion, I'd like to say - Choose your meetings wisely and don't be afraid to actively participate, because if you're good at what you do, your voice will be heard!
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