Saturday, February 21, 2015

Beyond the Bake Sale - Week 4 #ptcamp

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beyond the Bake Sale - #PTcamp Week 4 Reflections

I might not be able to do everything, but I can do SOMETHING!

I have to admit, the last chapter that I read for this week's reflection (Chapter 9) was so far my least favorite chapter in the book.  Up until Chapter 9, I was able to relate to specific ideas, strategies, goals that I had control over.  Chapters 1-8 helped me reshape, refocus and get reenergized.  But Chapter 9 almost deflated me.  Almost, but not quite.  Chapters 1-8 made me remember that I could do something to develop and enhance partnerships, advocacy, and trust, but chapter 9 appeared to take the power away from me and into the hands of the Superintendency and Board of Education.  But I quickly got back on track and told myself I might not be able to do big things that immediately influence what happens on a district and community level, but I can do big things in my school and for the parents, teachers, and students that I work for and with every day. 

So I decided not to spend a lot of time with Chapter 9.  That was my choice.  And we all have choices and the power to make a difference and we have the power to change what we do and how we do it.  So instead of feeling like I have little or no control regarding policy, I'm just going to do SOMETHING that is meaningful and beneficial for my school community...and have fun doing it.   I can only trust that what I do can eventually become policy but I cannot wait for policy to determine what I do.  

Oh, I usually refer back to a tweet that I read or wrote when I'm writing this blog.  So this week I tweeted: MT: Parents have choices.  Sometimes parents just feel like doing something else instead of going to a school event but still care about education.   

I wrote this because all to often in the education community we look at attendance at events as the measure of success and equate that to family involvement.  In my school we moved away from attendance as the only measure of success because sometimes parents are just doing something else and can't change their schedule because the school is having an event.  For example, a typical week for me (Educator and a mom) can include a PTA meeting at the school I work in, a reading workshop at my son's elementary school, a concert at my other son's high school and a Board of Education meeting in either the school district I work in or the school district I live in.  I can't attend all the meetings/events and still have a balanced professional and personal life.  So I have to choose.  And my choice will be determined by which event/activity will I get the most out of, which one is a non-negotiable, and which one will keep me out of the house for the least amount of time.   But if I choose not to attend the reading workshop, will the teachers at my son's school think I'm not involved or I don't care about my son's reading progress?  Totally not a true statement but can be perceived that way based on the traditional lens of attending events = parental involvement.

Another idea I just want to share and get out there is that some parents and students would rather learn on their own and support their children in a different manner.  Some families are just not interested in small talk or social functions.  That is a very hard concept for me to wrap my head around as just my presence on social media indicates I am a social person.  But what about those in our community that are not social.  Are we conditioned in our society to respect their option of being in their own space and learning at their own pace.  I recently came across the book:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Stop Can't Talking by Susan Cain

Q: Quiet offers some terrific insights for the parents of introverted children. What environment do introverted kids need in order to thrive, whether it’s at home or at school?
A: The best thing parents and teachers can do for introverted kids is to treasure them for who they are, and encourage their passions. This means: (1) Giving them the space they need. If they need to recharge alone in their room after school instead of plunging into extracurricular activities, that’s okay. (2) Letting them master new skills at their own pace. If they’re not learning to swim in group settings, for example, teach them privately. (3) Not calling them “shy”--they’ll believe the label and experience their nervousness as a fixed trait rather than an emotion they can learn to control.

Just wanted to add this piece because as we push for partnerships, let's remember that as wide as we open the doors for families to join us, some would rather show their support behind closed doors. 

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