Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Saturday staff meeting

I have worked in early childhood for about 7 years and have experienced different types of leadership and different approaches to staff meetings.  I've had the opportunity to facilitate staff meetings. 

As a center director in Chicago, I found that the evening staff meets were unproductive as everyone was burnt out and watching the clock rather than focusing on the content that I was sharing.  After some dialogue with my staff, we agreed to meet in the mornings before work to start our day off on the right foot.  It worked, but I could only use that approach for team meetings. I struggled to find a time that everyone could gather. 

I'm now working for a different agency in Wisconsin and inherited the Saturday Staff Meeting.  I couldn't believe that this was effective.  That people would show up on a Saturday and not complain the entire time.  Today was the first of many Saturday meetings that I will attend/facilitate and I have to say that although some folks struggled to engage, I suspect that's more of a personality thing and less of an exhaustion thing.  Staff gets paid for their time (which is crucial) and it allows the entire teaching team to get together and visit.  This is an agency that operates 6:00 am - midnight, Monday-Friday.  It's near impossible for the first staff openers to get together with the 2nd shift closers to even say hello, muchless learn from each other.  I also appreciated that a light breakfast was available (especially the coffee).

I think there are pros and cons to the Saturday meeting and it was so interesting to see the way staff interacted and behaved within the context of the meeting. It was super helpful to get an idea of how the culture of the staff has been established and has given me insight into how I'd like to facilitate future meetings.  It was very scary to leave the comfort of a job I knew SO well to move to a new state and try my hand at something MUCH more involved, but experiences like today continue to prove that I made the right choice. 

I'm so excited to see how our Saturday meetings develop in the coming months!

-Ms. DanL

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