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Three Ideas For Productive Faculty Meetings

Don’t have a faculty meeting.

But if you must, allow me to offer a few suggestions. Classical education is growing rapidly, which means the average school has teachers who have been around for ten years, five years, and five months. They’re not all on the same page—there’s no way around this, but it needs to be acknowledged. The way to get them all on the same page isn’t to make them read and discuss the same books—which won’t hurt, but won’t really do all that much, either.

Instead, you need the young teachers to hear the old teachers talk about “what we’re doing here.” They need to hear old teachers reflect openly and honestly about the difficulties of working in a movement which is countercultural and against-the-zeitgeist. Old teachers need to hear other old teachers reflect on their concerns, fears, strategies, and hopes. And this all needs to be done in a manner which does not resemble a 12-step program or an emotional support group. It all needs to come out in a discussion which centers around a few practical, compelling questions. To that end, I suggest the following prompts for faculty development sessions.

One. Pose this hypothetical scenario to all your teachers: If you were the admissions officer of this school, and you could only ask prospective parents three questions to determine whether they were missionally-aligned, what would those questions be? You might also throw in the caveat that all the questions had to be answerable with a yes or no, or a number.

Get teachers to discuss their answers. See what your average teacher thinks it means to be “missionally-aligned.” Let the younger teachers see what the older teachers take to be the mission of the school, as well as the disciplines which must be endured to complete those missions. It will be helpful for teachers to discuss among themselves why, “Do you love the Lord Jesus with all your heart?” isn’t a terribly helpful question in the admissions process, and neither is, “Do you believe the Bible is the infallible word of God?” Those sorts of questions just don’t prove enough either way.

Two. There are a good number of accrediting agencies which work with classical schools, and after five years of teaching, most teachers have had some sort of encounter—direct or indirect—with the accreditation process. Ask your teachers this: If you were designing an accreditation process for classical Christian schools, what would you want to know about a school before you gave it your personal stamp of approval? In other words, before you personally vouched for a school being legitimately classical and legitimately Christian, what would you need to see? What would ask? The sky’s the limit. You can be as prying and personal as you like.

Have teachers write down ten criteria they would use in determining the legitimacy of a classical Christian school.

Three. Have everyone write a 100-word elevator pitch for classical Christian education. Everyone shares their answer. A vote is taken on which one is best. The winner gets to skip the next faculty meeting or lead the next faculty meeting—their choice.

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