Have you ever had a staff meeting that fell completely flat?

Dear Principals,

Have you ever had a staff meeting that fell completely flat? I don’t mean just a little boring, but completely disconnected? Yesterday was that day for me and I am still grappling with it!

I didn’t have anyone complain or walk out or even not pay attention, it was the feeling that I had when I was finished: The feeling that I wasted the time of my staff by not trusting them enough to decipher the content in the “flipped staff meeting” and by not making appropriate connections! I focused on the information instead of Professional Development! The bottom line is: I failed! I failed the staff in not being the instructional leader that I know and they know I am.

About the meeting:
I began by “Flipping the Staff Meeting” and posting it on Youtube the Friday prior to the Monday staff meeting. Here is the meeting: http://youtu.be/BOsjl_OPQQ4.


The content is mostly informational, but with Growth Mindset Professional Development embedded as well. I truly don’t think it is a bad “flip”, but what I did with it was the tough part.

My original plan was to take the five aspects of the Growth Mindset infographic and have groups jigsaw and give example of what that may look like in the classroom. Instead, I simply went over the boring information about lockdowns, SBAC, etc. that was already explained in the video! Instead of trusting my intelligent, wonderful, proactive staff in watching, understanding, and analyzing information, I fed it back to them in the most boring way! UGHHHH! Why did I do that? They already had the facts, they could ask clarifying questions if there was something that they didn’t understand.

As for how excuses go: the reason was time and technical difficulties. I know, that’s pretty lame. First, some staff members could not access the video due to some safety features on Youtube at school. Also, we have 45 minutes for our staff and committee meetings. Our Education Association gets 15 minutes as well contractually. Our School Improvement team has decided to have one staff meeting a month instead of the possible three, but to really work hard during that time to cover information and develop professionally. So, I made the wrong choice in what to cut out. I know better than to leave out the PD!

Growth Mindset
So, yes I failed! But remember my focus is on Growth Mindset and with that you must make mistakes to truly learn. I have reflected, called my supervisor to chat and reflect, written this post and I have come up with this: I can do better! I will do better! My staff deserves better!

Steps to Improve
I am going to trust in my staff to watch and understand the video and ask me questions if they need to.

I am going to start an Edmodo discussion group (most teachers are using Edmodo anyway) for flipped staff meetings so they have an easy way to post questions and/or have a discussion with me or their colleagues.

I am going to remember that I am instructional leader not a manager and focus on Professional Development!

I am going to continue to fail, learn, and grow to be the best possible leader that I can be! The staff and students deserve that!!

The best news is I have a fantastic staff and supervisor, who will forgive me for wasting their time. I am thankful for all of them!

Always Learning,

Jenny Nauman

*For further information on the flipped staff meeting, please read:
“Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel” by Peter Dewitt.



3 thoughts on “Have you ever had a staff meeting that fell completely flat?

  1. Jenny,
    Love the honesty and transparency in your post. I also think you touch on some great points by referring to your growth mindset. I’ll admit, I don’t completely flip my staff meetings, I use my blog as a table setter and then we still review, discuss and collaborate on topics at our staff meetings. The sad thing is, I don’t remember EVER being taught how to do a staff meeting at any level of my education. I believe many principals are conducting staff meetings similar to how they observed staff meetings as teachers. I’m thankful you shared this and I hope more educators read your post. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks Ben! We have been flipping for a year now and it has gone well…until this week! Easy fix, I hope! Exactly..I think most staff meetings may be monologue not a dialogue, especially for admin who are not connected.

  3. I didn’t think it was a bad meeting. To be honest I didn’t feel like I heard everything all over again after listening to the Flipped Meeting. With all of that said it takes a true leader to admit to feeling like something failed. You truly are a great leader and I am honored to be able to learn from you and I appreciate being at Shields everyday.

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