Just my advice #1: How to get through weekly staff meetings

Eek! I got my first email to teacherscansmiletoo@gmail.com today asking for advice. Is it weird that it feels a bit like Christmas?

So, apparently some people out there think my advice is worth asking for. Hopefully they’re not just as crazy as me.

Here goes:

Hi Josh,

My principal forces the entire staff to sit through weekly staff meetings. They are not required by the district, but she seems to think they help build a better community. Got any advice on how to get through these without ripping my hair out?

Thanks, Elaine

Ok, Elaine (if that is your real name) I can definitely give you my two cents on this one. We have all been required to sit through awful (and I mean, just awful) meetings that do us little to no good. I have a couple of tricks in my back pocket for just such an occasion.


Boredom Buster #1: Idiosyncrasy Bingo

This one takes a bit of preparation but is so much fun. Get together with a few colleagues and list a few mannerisms (coughing unnecessarily, gesturing wildly, saying ‘um’ or ‘you know?’) of the main speaker (in your case, your principal). Put those mannerisms on bingo cards and when she does them, mark your card. Just don’t actually yell ‘bingo.’

Boredom Buster #2: Pretend to take notes, and actually just doodle

We sometimes forget the zen that doodling can bring. Draw funny pictures of your students doing things that are stupid. You should have plenty of ideas there…

Boredom Buster #3: Write a letter to a fellow teacher

This is the adult version of passing notes in class. The difference? You don’t actually pass them. Just write a full letter (full of wit and sarcasm, obviously) and hang on to it until it is safe to pass it along. It is fun to keep these letters in a folder or something to look back and laugh. Or for blackmail.

Boredom Buster #4: Be the obnoxious question asker

Ok, so don’t actually do this one, but I have noticed that the people that keep the meetings nice and long by asking inane questions all the time actually seem to enjoy themselves. Maybe they’re on to something. Or, maybe they’re just awful, awful people.

Boredom Buster #5: Grade papers

If your principal is not one to ask for feedback from their audience, and they actually don’t care if you pay full attention at meetings, get a little grading out of the way. I mean, come on. Everyone’s doing it!


Whatever you do, just don’t give in to frustration. It’s so tempting, but just don’t do it. You will feel like a stronger person in the end.

As a reward for getting through this week’s meeting, here is a Taylor Swift video (with a hilarious twist).

Clearly I’m on a kick here…


I have a unique perspective on teaching. As a young guy, I still have that “world is my oyster” perspective on life, so I am more than willing to try new things in the pursuit of happiness. I have always been a naturally happy person and don’t shy away from trying to make others see that it’s easy to be happy! Thus, the blog you’re reading. The main impetus for actually putting all the work in to getting this blog up and running? A coworker stopped me in the hall one day and actually reprimanded me for being so smiley all the time. They actually said that I shouldn’t be so happy as a teacher! My response? Screw that! I SHOULD be happy. I now smile at that coworker EVERY time I see them…and usually say something like, “Isn’t this such great day to be a teacher?!” They don’t usually smile back… Don’t be like them.

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