Faculty In-Service Tip for Your Independent School ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿซ

Aug 10, 2022

๐Ÿ˜ฌ It's that time of year again...faculty and staff in-services are happening! I've been to countless in-services either as a school employee or as a presenter. So I've witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to what works well and what should be avoided during these pivotal days before school starts. Today's tip is about connecting and building community.

๐Ÿ™„ Let's just say that as an employee I groaned when in-service rolled around. I would go to the minimal amounts of meetings required during that time and then hide in my office to tackle the huge pile of work that needed to get done.

However, over the years, I've learned that making those important connections will likely never happen if you don't build the relationships between faculty and staff during in-service and the first weeks of school. So here are some tips that I've seen work:

1) ๐Ÿค” Hold a community-builder off-site and ban all cell phones/work. It's amazing how quickly people bond when you're not at school (and near the neverending work pile). ๐Ÿ‘

2) ๐Ÿง‘‍๐Ÿค‍๐Ÿง‘ Use the buddy system. Pair faculty with staff in different departments and areas of the school. Either have them be buddies for just in-service or the whole year. Now, this isn't always successful but it is good at breaking up the "cliques" in schools. ๐Ÿ‘

3) ๐Ÿคฃ Break everyone into groups and give them funny names and a task to tackle each day. You can even make this competitive and give the winning group something goofy like a trophy or they get to pick lunch on the last day. Competitions can be work-related too - like trivia on the staff handbook or safety policies (Jeopardy style). ๐Ÿ†

4) ๐Ÿคจ This is not my fav (because it gave me no escape to my office! ๐Ÿคฃ ) but it has surprisingly good results. Pair people off at breakfast and lunch and give them get-to-know-you questions they have to run through. It's a quick way to get to know your fellow employees and see what you may have in common (ex: you both have dogs, like to hike, love documentaries, etc.). ๐Ÿ‘Œ

5) ๐Ÿค” Give faculty and staff the names of two people and they have to get to know them discreetly during the week and then write something nice (anonymously) about them. All those lovely things are put into a bucket and then read aloud on the last day during breakfast and lunch. ๐Ÿ™Œ

These are just a few of the many, many ways to build community during in-service.
I'm curious, what activities or strategies have worked in your school? ๐Ÿ˜Ž
Reply here, or shoot me an email [email protected]

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