Monday, August 17, 2015

How about those beginning of the year meetings, eh?

I know you've been wondering.

Last year after 20 years as our faculty senate president, I was replaced in a coup. Usually coups such as these are conducted to make meetings move more smoothly and more efficiently. To make things better. Not this one.

Just as I know I suck at keeping my house clean (and have plenty of negative attributes not worth mentioning here), I also know that I can run the hell out of a meeting.

Key phrases to keep things moving forward include...

Is there a motion to ...

Is this something we should table until we gather more information?

Would this be better discussed in a committee?

What I hear you saying is... What action do you feel needs to be taken?

That's a great idea, maybe you could lead a temporary committee to explore the possibilities.

Key actions include rounds of applause for short and/or no reports from committees and sincerely listening and thanking everyone who shares.

The coup was facilitated by the lunch talker (from many posts ago) who resented only getting her three minutes of discussion dominating per meeting. She nominated someone who likes to think of 30 teachers in a meeting as a party she's hosting. "So guys, what did you think of that new program we've been asked to try."

This style of leadership lends itself to the inevitable bitch session that turns 15 minutes into an hour.


In a room full of teachers that already feel three days behind the eight ball (did I mention terrible at metaphors?), you can count on the fact that everyone except three will put their heads down in silence and watch the valuable minutes tick by. Those last three will speak up when asked is there anything else for the good of the cause and air whatever has been in their mind for the last forty minutes.

E.g. "I think communication should be better."

The hilarity of this statement was that it came from a woman who rarely checks school email and doesn't read informational documents sent her way. It was all I could do to not raise my hand and say "I make a motion that everyone send (insert name here) two copies of every email and paper document on the outside chance that she'll actually read one of them."

When conversation and discussion stalled, I was nudging here, there and everywhere for people to make motions of one kind or another to move the meeting forward (not to get them to pass, just to get rid of the silent disdain everyone had at being there.)

And then I threw in the towel. I am not in charge. One teacher (who has a personality conflict with the current prez) wanted to nominate and return me to the post and I asked her not to because it would likely create hard feelings. If everyone prefers sitting with their thumbs up their asses in silence waiting for the torture to end then who am I to interfere?

More disturbing is that my obsessive mental monkey brain somehow thinks this is worth the time I've spent writing about it.

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