First day of back-to-school meetings.
As usual, we start off with presentations about money and demographics. This is probably important stuff but it isn’t very engaging to a front-line teacher like me. Then we are asked to spend an hour “discussing the MnSCU master strategic plan”, then “Sharing our table’s conclusions”, as if anybody below the deans level gives a $#!+ or thinks their input matters in the slightest.
Why is it that in the education racket, the people who know least about teaching (and engaging an audience) rise to the highest positions? Now, sure, I would probably suck at schmoozing the Legislature or planning a budget. But I don’t try to do it. I know it’s not in my skill set.
Perhaps people who are good at planning budgets and schmoozing the Legislature (and clearly not good enough or we wouldn’t have the money issues we are having) should limit their public remarks to 15-minute intervals, and throw in some recognition that a large fraction of their audience is not engaged. Better yet, emphasize the “So What?” And the “here’s why it matters to your classroom” and maybe even “Here are some practical ideas you can actually do, given this data we are presenting.”
Tomorrow, I do the workshop I referenced a few days ago. I’ll try to remember to start off with, “Thank you for coming. I hope you’ll find this was an hour well spent, and that you can take home some useful things from it.”
Actually, it probably would be a good idea to start every single class that way. And to prepare every class so I can say it sincerely.