Monthly 10-minute meetings are the building blocks of communication about your school community and working conditions. We share five quick tips for well-attended, well-run meetings.
- Get the word out. Publicize your meeting date, time, and location. Put up flyers in your faculty lounge, talk to colleagues in person, and send text/email reminders. Building reps who hold regular meetings have the best chance at keeping members informed and engaged with their union. Even though you may have a sense of your colleagues’ concerns, meeting with them reminds them that they have a voice in the union. It underscores that their ideas and experiences matter.
- Keep it to 10 minutes! Don’t get a reputation for going long; teachers have busy schedules. Make sure members know your meeting will wrap up in 10 minutes, and deliver on that promise by using a timer.
- Have an agenda. This could include reviewing minutes from the last meeting (allow about a minute), updating members on a current building/districtwide issue or problem (3 minutes), presenting and exploring a new issue (4 minutes), and ending on a positive note, such as highlighting a CEA/NEA member benefit, outlining how member involvement has influenced a decision by your district, or congratulating a member on a recent achievement (1-2 minutes). Distribute your agenda at the start of the meeting and go over protocols, such as masking and social distancing.
- Know your contract. Teachers’ contracts contain detailed information about salaries, benefits, responsibilities, and working conditions, and building reps are a point person for this information. Some reps use their 10-minute meetings to go over key aspects of the contract to ensure colleagues understand their rights and responsibilities.
- Include a tear-off sheet at the bottom of the agenda where members can jot down their concerns or ideas and leave them with you. This allows members to provide input without making the meeting go long.
Some union representatives send weekly emails highlighting some aspect of teachers’ contracts and keeping members involved and informed. The ongoing communication lets association members know what their union is working on and when meetings are being held and gives members a sense of belonging and a common purpose.