By Marina DeVino
One aspect of teaching that I never gave much thought to before is the amount of time teachers spend in meetings. Teachers, depending on the groups they are involved in, can be asked to attend several meetings a day. Typical types of meetings that teachers must attend are faculty meetings, Professional Learning Community meetings (PLC), team meetings, grade level meetings, department meetings, guidance meetings, and parent-teacher conferences. Throughout my undergraduate career, I have had several opportunities to sit in on PLC meetings and parent-teacher conferences. Student teaching has allowed me to not only attend all of these meetings, but participate in them as well.
Although I cannot provide specifics about the topics covered during these meetings, I can provide my general impressions of them. Like I stated before, teachers have to attend A LOT of meetings. On some occasions I have attended up to three meetings in a day. These meetings can be held before, during, or after school and can last as long as two hours. Sometimes meetings are cancelled, rescheduled multiple times, or run longer than anticipated, which can test the flexibility of any teacher. The variety of meetings I have attended has expanded my knowledge of the inner workings of a school. Guidance meetings have shown me that teachers, administrators, counselors, and the rest of the staff truly care about the well being of each and every student. During these meetings, teachers are asked to bring up any concerns about particular students and discuss how to best work with those students. Recently, my teachers and I developed an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for one of our struggling students. It was a great opportunity for me to see the how extensive a process it is to classify a student and has prepared me to participate in the process in the future with students of my own. I also found faculty meetings to be very interesting because it was one of the few occasions that I was able to see the entire school staff in one place. It was great to see how teachers of different grade levels viewed school issues and work together for the benefit of the school and their students.
If these meetings taught me anything, it’s that communication and cooperation are essential in a school. Meetings allow teachers and administration to discuss students, curriculum, or any topic that needs to be addressed in a controlled environment so the school can continue to work efficiently and effectively. Participating in these meetings has also made me realize that the input of every teacher is valuable, including a student teacher, so I will continue to make every effort to attend meetings.