In 17+ years of working at my school, I have had five principals and seven vice-principals (that I can remember). I have gotten along pretty well with almost all of them–there was one short-timer whose nickname was SpongeBob, and one guy whom I would always catch playing FreeCell on the computer in his office; those two kinda bugged–and most all of them have been pretty good at what they do. But not a one of them has had much faculty meeting savvy. (No offense to current management intended.)

Granted, I’m not a meeting person anyway, so almost any faculty meeting would be by definition, an atrocity. In my book, you’re already starting with two strikes by even having a meeting.

Also granted, we have always had a, let’s be polite and say difficult, staff to ride herd on. We’re a veteran staff–no rookies or noobs; I don’t think anyone’s been there less than five years, most are 10+, and Mrs. G has been here since the school opened–and rather set in our ways. We’ve always been pretty hard on principals. But still, I would think that meeting-running would be one of the core skills of an administrator. I guess that hasn’t made it onto the rubric yet.

I suppose I shouldn’t be so quick to talk. I don’t have to try, every other week,  to get a roomful of squirming, disinterested people with better things to do to listen to what I have to say and think it’s important enough to act on, when half of it probably isn’t.

Wait a minute. I have to do that FIVE TIMES A DAY.

NOTICE: The following is not intended to depict any particular meeting or person. It is a composite, much like the character of Tom Sawyer, of many meetings attended (physically anyway) over the years, so it includes characters from several different eras. (Whew…this might take two parts, what with all these asides and all.)

2:59 – School gets out. On a non-faculty-meeting day, mrC would be, as the title of the movie goes, Gone With the Wind. (Or is it Gone in 60 Seconds?) That’s why he gets to work early in the morning. However today there is a meeting. MrC tried to “forget,” but he lost his plausible deniability when a reminder was announced earlier on the PA.

3:01 – Snacks. PTA provides eats at our faculty meetings. Some years the food has almost made the meetings worth sticking around for. Almost. (Actually, for a couple of years, we had a dad who owned a deli that did barbecue. OMG. I don’t think I missed a meeting during those years. Also for a couple of years we had a principal who used to be a home ec teacher, and would bring things like pies and a roast.)  There’s usually a fine mix of sweet and savory snacks: cookies, brownies, and the like, as well as cold cuts, chips, veggie trays and sandwiches. Mmmmm. Tasty. Time for mrC to make a to-go platter for later. That’s a tip he picked up from Mrs. G.

3:09 – To-go platter safely stowed away, it’s time to eat. Mmmmm. Salami.

3:15 – MrC decides to prepare a savory to-go platter, to complement the cookie assortment this week.

3:20 – Scheduled start time for the meeting. Good luck with that. About 20% of the faculty has arrived.

3:25 – Attendance at about 50%. MrC checks the hastily prepared, last minute agenda. Looks like it should be a short meeting. Looks are always deceiving. Time for more of those white chocolate, macadamia nut cookies.

3:28 – “One more minute until we begin.” Then I woke up.

3:30 – Meeting finally begins. Side one of agenda sheet is already filled with doodles. Several doodles include guillotines.

Like I said, this one’s going to have to be a two parter.