I have been fortunate to participate in a lot of great committees. I've been part of important work, change, and reflection which is essential to moving a district/school forward. On the other hand, I have also been part of time-sucking committees that get little done, leave members frustrated, or end with no plan of action.
I think the hard part about this, is sometimes it's difficult to predict the outcome. When approached to join/help on a committee, it is usually flattering. I think, "Yay, they want ME! This is big, this is important, I can have my voice heard!" I rarely, if ever, say no to a committee. In some ways, I think this is good. It exposes me to a lot of different people, points of view, and opinions. It also lets me see the "behind the scenes" work of a lot of district initiatives.
Here is a quick list to get an idea of what I mean:
School Improvement Committee
Social and Emotional Learning
PBIS Universal Team
West Cook Math Initiative
District Leadership Team- Math
WCMI Professional Development Leader
SMART team- 1:1 Action Research
Standards Based Grading DACEE Committee
Whew, I'm sure if you are involved at your school, your list would look similar! That is a lot of meetings, time, and effort! My added time-crunch is now I have to factor in my daughter's daycare schedule. She needs to be picked up by 5 PM, when daycare closes. Many committees meet after school, so it can make for a stressful transition from school, to meeting, to daycare all the the time of day when I'm probably most tired.
So, I've already received two emails this summer about NEW committees that are starting for next school year. As I mentioned, I never really say no, but I am pausing to really consider how I can spend my time this year. I'm hoping to do some instructional coaching in math at my school this year, in addition to teaching. I already know that is going to take more of my time and I don't want to skimp on that work by taking on too much other new stuff.
How do you decide if you are going to join a committee or not?