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What Can We Learn From COVID, Industrial Action and Meetings?



There is no doubt that the COVID years were very tough not only due to the terrible suffering for people both physically and mentally, but the uncertainty of when “it” will get better.


However, as my grandma would say, “Every cloud has a silver lining, you just need to look hard to find it.” I believe she was referring to “What were the positive things we learnt from the adversity?”


From the COVID scenario we learnt that people don’t need to be in an office to get the work done. That meetings can be just as effective via teleconferencing. That teaching and learning can continue within restricted boundaries.


During term one West Australian teachers were abiding by their union’s initiative to boycott collaboration meetings, staff meetings and after school interactions. This made decision making and collective discussion very difficult. Or did it? Teaching and learning continued within restricted boundaries.


So here is my reflection on the situation, aligning to grandma’s pearls of wisdom, if schools continued to function without meetings:

  1. What effect do meetings have that make a difference to teaching and learning?

  2. Are leaders “filling” meeting times with topics that are not impactful to the current whole school purpose?

  3. Do we need to have the scheduled meetings?

  4. Could this time be better spent with educators planning or assessing? Or even better, going home?


I have put a challenge to a principal during our coaching session, to gather some evidence as to how impactful the 2023 meetings were. The principal has been tasked to simply look at the agenda items from staff meetings in 2023 and assess the impact and action that have occurred due to that meeting. Schools found a way of communicating with staff during a time of reduced meeting opportunities, and the educational purpose continues.


This is an opportunity to revise how leaders allocate discussion items for meetings. In a report, commissioned by teach giant Atlassian in partnership with Wakefield Research, it found that 75% of meetings are pointless, frustrating, and block employees from completing the work they need to do.


Like COVID, can we find the silver lining and change what we do so educators can get closer to what they love which is making a difference in students' lives through planning, teaching and assessing.


Are you willing to review your meetings impact and make a change?


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