Alannah was always so supportive – a School Council Member, an enthusiastic volunteer and an advocate in the community.
And yet, here she was banging my desk and almost frothing at the mouth whilst shouting at me about the “treatment” her son had received after involving himself in a playground stoush.
I remember it well and also the moment I found some new perspective on parental support.
Alannah, exasperated, implored “Why on earth would a teacher insist that my son take responsibility when he clearly hadn’t started it?”
“Alannah, would you like me to properly explain to you this restorative way of working that we use?”
“Please!” she curtly replied and sat with her arms crossed.
Luckily, Alannah had the time and I had the inclination to explain. I gave Alannah the best 40-minute version of a full day of RP training that I could muster.
Alannah’s response? “Well, why didn’t you just tell us that in the first place?”
This was a question that I didn’t have an answer to. And it dawned on me that too often we make decisions and implement approaches in our schools and just hope that parents will understand or accept it.
Too often, we forget that our parents haven’t had the PL or training that we’ve had. This leaves them with only one point of reference – their own experience of schooling.
If we evolve or change without informing our parents, we create tension and confusion for them that isn’t their fault. It’s our’s.
So, what’s the aspect of your school that attracts the most parental blowback?
And what would a 40-minute online session (because we’re all Zoom experts now!) look like that addresses that aspect?
You might as well get all the Alannah’s you’ve got in one place if you can. As a School Leader, an army of informed, supportive and enthusiastic Alannah’s in your community can be really useful.