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Embracing Playful Staff Meetings

by Rebecca Thomas

A refreshing trend has emerged – teachers appear to be embracing their inner big kid and transforming staff meetings into tactile, sensory, and stimulating experiences. Teachers, who are usually the facilitators of such activities for their students, are now happily participating as equal players.

Free from PowerPoints and lengthy academic handouts, a mixture of engaging discussions, hands-on workshops, cutting, sticking and sorting, and open forums for sharing ideas seem to be the new En-Vogue as I trot from staffroom to staffroom this term. Either the teaching workforce has gone completely mad and deliriously happy from being over exhausted (a bit like you do when you’ve been on camp far too long), or the upcoming Springtime air has had a recharging effect on our teachers. Whatever the reason, this new energised, playful workforce is a delight to be around.

The last staff meeting we had we laughed so hard my eyes hurt and I had a stitch. I can't remember the last time I (as an adult) laughed to the point my sides hurt. On this particular occasion a lovely teacher in our group decided to replace her New Zealand accent with a Scottish one for the whole meeting after declaring to us all she was an expert at it, but the accent morphed from Scottish to Welsh to Irish to Italian, and still she remained in character. Whilst cutting and sticking some oyster shells (another story) we begged her to stop as we could no longer breathe from laughing so hard.

The agendas being rolled out seem to no longer be an endless list of dry topics; more getting excited about the future, or planning for art sales and outings.

Teaching is an art, and these new-age staff meetings seem to recognise that fostering creativity and curiosity within teachers directly impacts not only their wellbeing, but also the quality of education they provide to their students. Teachers are actively being encouraged to play, explore, and ideate – just like children in a sandpit.

I guess the underlying philosophy is simple – happy, motivated teachers make better educators. It is obvious that embracing their inner big kid helps our teachers to rejuvenate their passion for teaching.

Some might wonder if this approach diminishes the professionalism of teachers - shouldn't they be all 'academic-like and serious'?

Ultimately, effective teachers understand that professionalism goes hand in hand with emotional intelligence. It's about knowing when to be serious and when to infuse positivity and joy into the learning process. This new injection of joy highlights the dedication of our teachers to their craft. By embracing their inner big kid, they are creating a ripple effect that positively impacts their entire ecosystem.

So, let's celebrate this shift in staff meetings. Let's encourage our teachers to be big kids, to play, and to find joy in their profession. After all, it takes an adventurous spirit to shape the minds of our future after the many dramas we've all been through.

As we bid au revoir to tedious PowerPoint slides and academic handouts, let's welcome a new era of vibrant, playful staff meetings. Embrace the change: let the play begin!

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