In my first year as head of department, 26 teachers taught mathematics at my school. Most of these teachers taught only one class. The teachers were distributed in all the staff rooms of a school of 1,200 students. It took me more than a semester to get to know the teachers and the school before I was able to function effectively in my new role. Since math is just a tactic for non-mathematic teachers, it was difficult to find time to meet with teachers residing outside of the math faculty lounge. The only time I saw them was at departmental meetings organized at the beginning of each term.

So I resolved in the future to try to have a one-on-one meeting with my staff at the beginning of the year.

The objectives of the meeting would be:

  1. a meet-and-greet session for the Head of Curriculum / Department and each staff member; and

  1. an educational process for the Head of Curriculum / Department helping him to know the school culture and “departmental politics”.

Agenda / Discussion Points:

  1. The teacher’s experience in the classroom;

  1. The special skills that the teacher brings to the school / department;

  1. Levels and subjects of teaching preferred by the teacher;

Note: Items 1-3 above are designed to allow the department / curriculum director to tailor the best teacher for each class.

  1. Special interests, for example, problem solving, discussion, and computer learning;

Note: Item 4 is designed to add interesting and motivating extras to normal classroom activities.

  1. Professional plans of the teacher, for example, promotional objectives;

  1. Professional development requirements;

Note: Items 5 and 6 are designed to help improve the learning process for students as well as to assist the Director of Curriculum in developing a professional development plan for all of their staff.

  1. Issues that need to be addressed to improve the functioning of the department and / or the curriculum;

  1. New or additional resources;

Note: Items 7 and 8 are designed to complement the research meeting you had with administration to help prepare a set of goals and an action plan for your freshman year and beyond in school.

  1. Any topic that the teacher wishes to discuss in private.

Note: Item 9 allows the teacher to give the new principal any private information about himself that may help him in his future relationship. There could be other issues that the manager didn’t realize needed to know or discuss.

At the end of each of these meetings, if there were issues that I had to address on behalf of each teacher, we would agree on what I would do and when we would meet again.

After each meeting, he would record the problems and ideas raised by the teachers on paper and create an action plan to address these problems.

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