“Now kids, it’s important to remember that it is NEVER o.k to lick the inside of the rubbish bin. Even if someone dares you to!”
That’s one thing that I’d never expected to say during my teaching career.
Here’s another one:
“Having an extra meeting every day was the best thing that our team ever did.”
Now, we’re not talking about any old meeting here – oh no – We’re talking about what those in the business world refer to as stand-up or tool-box meetings, or huddles. It’s a short-sharp get-together each day with a very specific agenda. Here’s how it rolls in an educational setting:
Every single morning at 8.15-8.30am there we are without fail. Eight teachers with coffee cups in hand, ready for the first meeting of the day. We stand around a team board that has our term overview, the schools strategic plan, info about our target learners and our celebrations from the previous week.
We commit to coming together for these 15 minutes every morning to get our game plan sorted for the day so that we are all on the exact same page.
As a group we discuss:
- Pastoral care
- Who’s in/out
- Looming deadlines
- Upcoming events
- Check-in’s (are you o.k?)
- What needs to be done? Who will do it? By when?
This all means, if a colleague, student or parent asks us a question, we’ll all have the exact same answer because we actually know what’s going on. Neat huh!
I can hear you thinking:
“Kate, are you seriously trying to convince me to add over an hour of extra meetings to my life each week?”
Yep – that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Huddles are where all of the day-to-day admin is covered which means that when it does come time for an after school team meeting, you don’t have to spend any time on that stuff. Instead, your team can get straight into the big picture team planning and professional learning.
Huddles save a huge amount of collective time because you have a conversation once with everyone present. That means that there are no more back-and-forth emails or teachers running around trying to fill each other in when things change. It means that the messages that people receive are consistent so there is no more ‘well nobody told ME that’ excuses.
But here’s the most important reason why I encourage all teams to embrace huddle time:
It’s sacred team time (yes, even the most demanding parents can be trained not to interrupt your huddle) where everyone is physically in the same place so you can have a wellness check-in with each other. It’s an opportunity to be pre-emptive and supportive towards your colleagues so they can navigate their way through whatever the day will throw at them.
- Amanda’s throat is dodgy today, how shall we support her?
- Sarah has to dash at 2.00 to get to her daughter’s physio appointment, what’s the plan for her kids for the last block?
- Kate’s kid had a meltdown in the car this morning and she’s super stressed, who’s going to go and get her a quadruple shot latte?
Doing just a little bit often has an enormous impact.