Building representatives who hold regular building meetings have the best chance at keeping their members informed and engaged with their union. It may seem expedient to skip it, and you may have a sense of what members are thinking, but neglecting to meet with them and ask for their input robs members of the knowledge that they have a voice in the union and the feeling that their opinions count in the decision-making process.
So, how do you have a successful 10-minute meeting?
- 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.
- Put up flyers with the meeting date, time, and location. Emphasize that the meeting will be limited to 10 minutes.
- Have an agenda. This could include reviewing minutes from the last meeting (allow about 1-2 minutes), updating members on a current building/districtwide issue or problem (3 minutes), presenting and explore 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 the union’s action or a decision by the district, or congratulate a member on a recent achievement (1-2 minutes).
- Distribute your written agenda at the start of the meeting.
- Consider including a tear-off sheet at the bottom of the agenda where members can jot down their concerns and leave them with you. This allows members to provide input without making the meeting go long.
At CEA’s Summer Conference, one teacher remarked that her local president sent weekly emails highlighting some aspect of teachers’ contracts and keeping members involved and informed. The ongoing communication, she said, let association members know what the local is working on and when meetings are being held and gave members a sense of belonging and a common purpose.