Recognizing the Unknown Edu-Celebrities

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Just my quick 2 cents…

I have read many posts lately about how there are so many award-worthy educators out there that aren’t connected, that deserve as much recognition as others that are (recently for a particular award ceremony).

I think it’s easy to recognize those using social media because, just as McDonald’s ads keep their Golden Arches fresh in our minds (even if we don’t eat there), so do the names of connected edus and their efforts appearing in our news feeds. I wholeheartedly agree that there are many out there doing amazing work and no one outside of their community or possibly even, building have any idea. But….I think that if we believe that these people are true “rockstars” or “change makers”, then shouldn’t those of us who are connected, be nominating and/or recognizing them when we get the chance?

Just as I am not a fan of showing our loved ones how much we love them only on Valentines’ Day, I don’t think we should limit our efforts in recognizing our heroes in education to award ceremonies. We can recognize them in our school (and community) newspapers, letters, announcements; on our social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter; in our blogs or weekly chats…and anywhere else we have access.

So if you know of an educator whose work and efforts is worthy of sharing….please share. We all love to read positive news.


PD for PTO Leaders

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As I listen to educators on Twitter (and again in a meeting last night) speak about the importance of professional development (or PD), it made me think…parent group leaders need this. Whether you start in a small way on your school’s board and work your way up to an executive position – or do as I do and go from chairing events to taking on the president’s position, you most likely do the best with what existing knowledge and experiences you’ve had, to lead your community’s families. I understand the big differences is that for one, parents are volunteering for these positions, they are not paid, and two they are not long-term. At most, you will serve in the duration that your children are at the school. But are we selling our communities short by not providing groups with the training necessary to work with and best engage those from lives unlike our own?

As I wrap up my first term as president, I do not think that I would have been a disservice to our group or school if I had simply gone through these two years with the knowledge I brought and never exposed to how others were doing things outside of our district. I have always wanted everyone’s participation…but I think we would have continued to serve more as the fundraising and party planning committee and less as a resource for families. We each bring our own passions, and this particular one is mine. I honestly feel if all we do is support our schools during parties, we send the wrong message (as a group) to our children.

So where do I go to learn and share with others? 99% of it is free. Just like most anyone volunteering, in all reality, I cannot pay too much out of my own wallet to learn how to better serve in a short-term volunteer position.

Obviously Twitter is a place I use extensively. Lisa is a perfect example of one person who beyond sharing a blog with, is one who (like many others on Twitter) inspires me; helps me reach solutions; opens my eyes and pushes me to think from another lens. But the best part about Twitter is that I am not in a parent bubble. In most situations, parents and teachers/educators are not learning from each other. On Twitter, I am able to freely learn from and with educators. They have not only provided me with valuable information about topics in education, but helped me to see through another lens…their’s. If we want to have “a seat at the table” with teachers and school admin in planning for things to come, it helps if we understand how these issues/requests effect not only our children and families, but also the teachers and schools or districts.

This year, to help our own district parent groups connect and share with those outside of their own building, I created a Facebook group for us (most are not on, nor are they comfortable with or interested in Twitter). As much as I would love to see them all on Twitter, the WHERE isn’t what’s important; it’s the conversations that lead to sharing and learning that matters. I have to say, I love reading the Facebook feed. No it is not a massive learning forum like Twitter…but there is still extremely beneficial learning, sharing and connecting happening. We have lenses from 13 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and a few additional groups like gifted resources and special ed participating. Today I posted a question to see if they all are interested in doing a book chat. We did one at our elementary school, and would love to do one with all of our parent groups in our community, given we all come from such a variety of lenses. We’ll see.

But, as always, the ultimate way to connect…face to face. This happens in our monthly PTO meetings and in the school. We take it a step further at our school, and learn from a larger population when we host ParentCamp. These are not only free learning opportunities – but also relationship builders. And when we build and strengthen relationships, we open the door to inviting other people joining us in leading. Not only feel comfortable with us, but feel confident when participating in the conversations.

Now….as much as I learn from the above for free, I have found in the last year and half, great value in attending educational conferences. The world of education is far different now than it was when we were in school…plus just because we attended school, does not mean we know the least bit about the world of education. These conferences are geared toward the educators, but we can take this same information and apply these ideas at home. In addition, it also can provide us with information needed to be able to “sit at the table” when our schools and districts are planning for the future. With knowledge we can effectively advocate.

A few weeks ago, I attended a conference that was not only about education – but education with a focus on engaging families. I am still processing and excited about the people I met from around the country at the Families Learning Summit. For someone who loses sleep over knowing another school does not value a parent partnership or a PTO that doesn’t believe everyone in their community should have an equal voice regardless of the amount of time or money they have to give…this was like Disney World. Every conversation was about including families – from all walks of life. And that takes a lot of conversations, because how we engage an English speaking, stay at home mom is honestly not the same approach we will most likely need to take to engage an ESL family or one that the parents are working several jobs, early morning to late night. It was simply awesome to see firsthand how a school engages families through their STEM program by first exposing the families to the lessons. To hear a group of teachers share, tips not on how to help our children master their math facts, but a website that inspires so much wonder in their students that the children then take that excitement home with them; extending their learning to outside the classroom walls. And to a teacher who defines and shares with us the difference between cultural competence (which I feel is where many of us lie) and cultural proficiency (which is where we really need to be). Since not everyone can attend these fee-based learning opportunities (although I think it would be well worth groups setting aside a small budget to send 1 or 2 people each year), I think it is that much more important that those who do attend, share their experiences in some forum with others (in person with their community, in a blog, or through social media).

As much as I originally liked to think of this role of serving on our school’s home and school association (PTO) as just a way to help rally the troops to support our children and school, we are far more than that. When armed with knowledge and resources, we have the ability to really enrich our community and bring positive change.

Image Credit: CabotSchools.org


Twitter for Parents in the Eduworld?

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Image Credit : http://www.sxc.hu/

The Journey to Finding Your Voice and Place on Twitter

When I first began my Twitter journey, I was consumed by all the information available. I drank everything in; constantly re-tweeting posts so I could have a record of articles I wanted to read, jumping on every chat that showed up in my feed, and reaching out to authors and other individuals that I had respected from afar. The experience was exhausting, but so worth the late night info binges!

After much time, I feel that I have finally found my Twitter voice. As a parent interested in education, it has been a windy road. Finding a chat that genuinely wants, not just welcomes  a parent’s lens is not a given. There are certainly educators who are not interested in conversing with non-educators.  I may have also brought my baggage with me. I spent just as much time looking up terms in the beginning as I did sharing my thoughts. Cutting through the edu-jargon and acronyms took time.

One thing I had to remind myself as I got more into the Twitter world, which is easy to forget, is that there are people behind those posts. Some are nice, some not so nice.  Some with valuable information to share, some….. And some individuals have agendas that don’t include me or other parents. Twitter is a reflection of the workplace for educators. Some strongly hold on to hierarchies, even antiquated ones. Some really want to change those paradigms and reshape education as a true partnership with not only parents but students as equal players.

All those hours sifting through chats, hastags, and follows, I have found people that really challenge my mind, respect my input, and encourage more interactions. I have found educators who respect parents making the effort to learn more about education. I have found chats that appreciate and seek parent points of view. I am always appreciative of educators who are evolving and refining their perspectives. Those are the people I want to learn with. Those are the people who inspire me to push myself to reach for more.

One of my goals as a Parent Leader has always been giving parents a voice; enabling them to have a seat at the table. Twitter has been an instrumental tool in allowing me to contribute in conversations with teachers and administrators. In order to successfully find your way, you have to hit a few bumps and then pick yourself up and carry on. The journey is part of the prize.

Some of my favorite chats include:

#PTChat, #NYEDchat, #COLChat, #ArkEdChat, #TMSHawkChat, #FinnedChat

This post is dedicated to some truly special educators:

@TonySinanis, @DaisyDyerDuerr, @thomascmurray, @JohnFrtisky, @donald_gately, @timdwalk, @DavidHochheiser

Thank you!


Takeaways From The National Title I Conference

There is much I could write about from my experience this week at the National Title I conference. Before I possibly share what I learned from various sessions….I want to share the experience. I was invited to present with the National Center for Families Learning on Wonder and Inquiry Motivate At-Risk Students and Families. My role? To share a parents perspective. While there; I thought it only made sense to take in as much of the conference as possible. What kind of sessions did I participate in? Everything from Designing a School-Family Compact, to Literacy Instruction Through the Use of Mobile Technologies, to a session called Moving Targets, where a school shared their story of moving from a last place ranking by their state up to around the top 25%…in one year.

First takeaway…ENERGY. If we want children to be excited about learning…the adults need to also exhibit excitement. The teachers and principals that I saw sharing their success stories were not just teaching their students – but I’m also sharing their excitement for learning.

By far, one of the greatest ways to kick off the sessions…Jeff Charbonneau, a teacher from Washington who was selected last year as the National Teacher of the Year, was Sunday’s keynote speaker. The title of his presentation…Welcome to Another Day in Paradise! (The title alone tells you his outlook) I think it’s hard to capture what makes a school or individual so great in one hour – but Jeff did a excellent job of sharing all the reasons one can celebrate being a teacher. The impact a teacher can make. His energy was infectious. (I would love to hear his students share their thoughts on him one time.)

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Before Jeff Charbonneau took the stage, the conference was kicked off with each of the schools recognized as a Title I Distinguished School stepping up on the stage and sharing with the thousands in the room what made their school special or what their motto was. These schools brought such energy, enthusiasm and pride, as they had every reason to be.

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The session I mentioned earlier, Moving Targets, how did they turn themselves around? Starting the day excited about the opportunity to make a difference, taking a honest look at themselves, stopped making excuses and doing whatever they needed to do to provide their students (or as the principal called them “her babies”) the education they deserved.

Second….as someone mentioned to me this week, “Technology, they’re all using it.” Smartphones and tablets have given many access to the internet and social media; regardless of their economic status. So not only should sessions be talking about tools to use in a classroom between teacher and student – but there should also be discussion of how these tools can be used to take the learning home; outside of the school walls and in connecting families with the learning.

If we want students and families to use technology and social media to enhance learning, I think it is also important for the schools to role model how to use it. I have been spoiled in that any education conferences I’ve have attended in the past are filled with educators using social media to share what they were learning throughout various sessions. Not only is it wonderful for those not in attendance (and that would include families following you/school account) – but for those wanting to be part of multiple sessions simultaneously. I’m not sure if it was the extremely limited wi-fi access at the venue, or if many of those in attendance simply don’t use social media. But sharing was almost non-existent (I pulled anything I could find from Twitter relating to this conference, and there were only a few of us tweeting out of around 3000 in attendance). The @natltitleIconf last tweet…note the date – Oct 23!

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I don’t care how information is shared…but I do think they are missing something big by not sharing. The schools and people that fill them, that were in attendance are doing great things…what they are doing should be put out there as much as possible, so other schools with similar struggles can learn from them. Plus, there were many phenomenal sessions there that I think provided great information that families could use in supporting their student and schools. What a thrill it would have been for a parent at home to follow along with a session such as “Multiplying Vocabulary Using Manipulatives”? It doesn’t sound like a party…but for a parent unsure how to help their child who may be struggling; these tips could make a difference.

Third…engaging families IN the process is a work in progress. This conference had more parents in attendance than most other educational conferences (meaning individuals not also considered educators), because of that and the fact that part of Title I encompasses family engagement, I expected far more sessions to share how to include families in these efforts, discussions, processes. The ones that did include them, did it well.

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But other sessions limited discussion to the admin and teacher. A few mentioned families as an, “oh, and be sure to have your families review this – or make sure to share a copy with your families,” but if you are doing what’s best for the students and you really want a full partnership between home and school…then you need to include families earlier on…not at the end as a “by the way, here is what we are doing.” Maybe this isn’t so much about tailoring the sessions as having voices in the sessions willing to share their ideas on how to incorporate the parents in the process. Either way, I think that this is an opportune time to provide tips to educators on best practices for engaging families during the processes and discussions….to help them build real home-school partnerships.

Below is a tweet that I shared with two of our teachers not in attendance, but then I also shared them with a few parents I thought would appreciate using them from home.

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As always, I think anytime a parent has the chance to learn from and attend a educational conference, they should. There is so much to take away from these conferences. They not only help to educate and inform on various topics – but you can add a much needed balance to discussions and meet lots of amazing educators doing amazing things with students each and every school day (which for me brings a sense of respect for what my children’s teachers endure each day while still serving as an inspiration). For those not able to pay the larger fees of conferences such as the National Title I conference, I encourage you to seek out a local EdCamp (which are free and full of amazing educators to learn from and with). 


My Case For Social Media and Technology Use In School

www.sxc.hu hand_on_keyboard

Today, yet again, I have heard people question if and why we should be using various pieces of technology and social media in school. It has been almost 40 years since personal computers were successfully marketed and sold to the general public. It has been over 20 years since the “world wide web” (www) was launched. It has been 10 years since the launch of Facebook and 7 years since the first iPhone was released. These things will continue to evolve in capabilities and how they are used – but they are not going away.

Besides the fact that we are supposed to be educating our children for tomorrow’s world, here are the reasons I can  think of off the top of my head as to why social media  is of importance in our schools (some of it relates to tech – but honestly, I think it’s a no-brainer as to why kids should be exposed to and using technology).

  • Given the numbers above…these things are not going away. Our children will be using them whether we like it or not. Just as we role model proper table manners, or how to cross a street, we need to do the same for using technology and social media. That requires us to learn about them and use them ourselves.
  • I don’t believe that any job that our children will hold in the future will be sans-tech or the need to work with others from around the world. (Again, we are educating for the future – so they should be exposed to technology and collaborating from the earliest of ages).
  • The above ties into a global mindset, that we are part of something larger and all that we can learn a great deal from others outside of our “bubble”. This is hard for a child to grasp if they have never been exposed to anything/anyone outside their bubble.
  • Empathy. Although we may speak a different language or wear different clothing, we are all human. Learning about how others live, what their struggles are as a culture and their customs, can help children be more empathetic to those different from them when trying to resolve issues later on.
  • We are so concerned about test scores and how much learning needs to happen in a school year. These things extend the learning to anytime, anywhere. Empowering them to continue learning about a topic outside of the classroom, solely because it is of interest to them is worth its weight in gold.
  • In addition to when learning occurs, it’s also how and from whom. I love that you can participate in a conversation on a blog, or tweet a statement or question to the world and receive responses from experts, authors, artists, and those who have been through or are currently going through the experience firsthand. How insanely powerful and exciting for a child (and adults) to get that opportunity that might not otherwise exist.
  • Relationship building with not only families – but the community. Sharing, through a blog post or social media, moments from the day of kids learning is nothing less than fabulous. For parents and the community to have a window into the classroom and to be able to see the positive things our children and schools are doing, builds confidence and support. It reduces the number of reasons one can question efforts and spending when seen firsthand, the product and results. In addition, families can hold richer conversations at home about what their children have been learning because they aren’t dependent upon their child to remember moments of the 6+ hours prior. Instead, parents can ask about a particular lesson/moment. From there they can also tie in what they are doing during their family time, with the lessons at school. I know I have chosen a particular museum exhibit and what we have done while on a walk at the park because of what my children’s teachers shared from the classroom.
  • Not only can immediate family members support the learning outside of the classroom – but putting it out there online enables family members near AND far to follow along and support the child’s learning.
  • It brings the “great” things to life. A teacher can tell you all they want on back to school night that they have some great lessons, projects and/or activities planned for the year. But the definition for great may vary for some. And something the teacher thinks is great, may be over the moon to say a parent that never experienced anything like that themselves growing up. Why would you shortchange your efforts? Let others see the opportunities you are giving these children.
  • It is a way for busy families to keep up with what is happening while on the go, without having to depend on if a paper makes it home, if they have the info from the paper with them while out and regardless of if they are physically able to visit the school..
  • It helps maintain a regular, open line of communication in between those face to face moments. Instead of speaking once every few months – it could be weekly. That can drastically change a relationship.
  • And the other question I heard….but how many people are actually following and using? I think that grows over time. Our newer parents use the social media to communicate far more than the ones who went through 5 years without it at first, I believe because they don’t know any different. But many of the other families are, if nothing else, using it a resource for information. The more you use it for good and for sharing valuable resources though, I think the more your community will begin to use it to interact with you. But if you never start, or only give it a few months, you will never have these opportunities. And although I think it benefits the adults; if we don’t expose our children to this world of technology and social media now, they will be the ones suffering the most down the road.

So as a parent, I beg of you not to short change our children or limit the opportunities to engage more families and the community. I understand you may be unfamiliar with it – but ignorance will benefit no one. I will do my part at home, I ask that you do yours at school.


Tear Down These Walls…

Berlin Wall at Ronald Reagan Bldg and Intl Trade Center in DC - G.Pescatore

I hate walls! They block your view and prevent you from hearing clearly what is being said on the other side. (These particular walls I am referring to also wake me up at 430 in the morning….which note, waking up at 430 a.m. is one big reason you will not see me have anymore children. I don’t sleep a lot, but when I am sleeping….I don’t appreciate being woken in the midst.)

So often we talk about issues arising from the” us versus them” mentality; be it one ethnic community versus another; PTO board-parents; parents-school; parent-teacher; school boards-educators or parents. So often, I see and hear the comment repeatedly come up in conversations (written and verbal) that, yes, we need to build relationships and respect one another. Relationships are the core foundation of what we need for success. Yet then people say, do and write things that not only keep walls in place, but at times, make them bigger.

If we truly want to break these walls down and realize this vision of working together without walls between us…

We need to humble ourselves.

We need to realize that no one individual is better than the next (I don’t care how educated you are/aren’t or how much money is/isn’t in your bank account or if you speak the English language or not).

You can be at the top…or the bottom of the ladder in the blink of an eye.

We need to not only talk about working together – but actually have actions to back that statement (and when you dig deep, if you don’t believe it, than you really need to find a role that you do truly believe in).

We need to remember that we all are 50% of the problem….but CAN and also NEED to be 50% of the solution.

A child is just that; a child. We need to be providing them with positive reinforcement…not tearing them down.

We need to greet others with an open heart and open mind.

We need to remember we all are human; breathing the same air, standing on the same ground.

Our words can have a lasting impact on those we speak to and of…good or bad.

We all need to remember…before we say or do something; listen to what you are saying from the shoes of someone on the other side of that statement (wall). How would that impact you and your actions going forward?

Just as we tell our children to be kind and think of others. We need to practice what we preach. Our actions DO speak louder than our words…but words also have the power to shape someone’s perception of reality (and perception is reality to them). If we can knock down these walls that divide and prevent us from working together, we might be pleasantly surprised at the potential of others and what we can all accomplish.


First Post of 2014

A wise dear friend tweeted this today, and I found it to be the perfect first post for 2014.

gwen

 

To a year of making mistakes, challenging limits, forging through comfort zones, learning so so much and changing the world!

Thank you partner — You always inspire! XoXo


A New Year’s Resolution After All

goalLast night on #arkedchat, the topic was “New Year’s Resolutions in Education”. When Daisy (@DaisyDyerDuerr) asked the question about what resolutions students were making…I responded with the same response I have to all who ask about resolutions….I don’t like them. I prefer goals. For me a resolution is something you only set on January 1st and you either succeed or don’t at reaching them over the course of that year. Goals I can set on any given day I realize I want to change something and can have misses along the way while still striving for the end result.

resolutionsToday though, I am setting a resolution (yes, I know I missed January 1st) after reading about not just one –but two fabulous ideas in blog posts in one day and adding them to the long list of ideas I’ve collected this year that I think are great. My resolution? To make as many of these fab ideas I have come across, realities for my children and our school, as possible because they are not so fab just sitting there as words…and nothing annoys me more than lots of talk with no action. So this is more than a goal…it isn’t just a desired result, it is a firm decision to put action to my words.

Happy New Year!


Back to “Home”

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This month our elementary school welcomed a new principal. As with the changing of any leader (be it in business, sports or school), there is always that level of uncertainty. Some questions I heard during this time…will they change everything? Will they see our school for what it really is…beyond the test scores? Will they welcome families and the community in the same way? Or, as my children put it…will they be nice?

Starting over with a new principal feels much like when my game piece, that was over half way around the board, is sent back home while playing the game Trouble with my youngest this week. You are back to first working to get that 6, and then turn by turn, making your way back around the board to not only get to where you were before you were sent home…but beyond that and to the finish line (although in the school relationship, there is no finish line…it’s ongoing).

So, with a new face, comes our group’s responsibility to go back to square one (or “home”) to build that relationship and trust. Much like we do when welcoming new families, through a warm welcome; the sharing of important/key information; and the getting to know what skills and/or assets they bring to our school (everyone has something), we must do with our new principal. The trust piece simply will be earned over time and through various ways including respect, each of us following through on the promises we make, and always doing what’s best for the school and kids and not for one’s self.

If we are truly to work together as a team, before too much time passed, it was important to discuss expectations and communication. These are not givens. Without having this conversation, there is no way one can accurately assume what the other expects and how they best communicate. (I gave our new principal a week I think before requesting that we sit down and go over these). As much as I would have loved to let him get settled a bit more, we have a busy Jan coming up.

So what were some key pieces we talked about?

  • Expectations:
    • What we as the parent group and as parents need from him as the principal
      • I have created a Google doc to list these things…not because the needs are endless…but because sometimes it is those little things that you don’t give much thought to…until they aren’t done or are missing.
    • What does he, the principal expect of us
      • Not only does he not know us, but he may have a different idea of how things should be implemented; asking his preference is the only way to know. In our case, it is different from what/how we did things before. Neither way is good or bad, right or wrong…just different.
      • Not a conversation I have had yet given the newness to the position – but once he gets settled, I will ask him the same question I asked our middle school principal when I first met with him…what role does he see parents and the parent group playing in the school?
        • This is one that I feel isn’t set in stone. The answer doesn’t define how parents are involved…but it does tell you where your starting point is. From there you can push the thinking if needed.
  • Communication:
    • Frequency: On a schedule or as needed (at our elementary school, I find it is needed almost weekly…middle school is far less)
    • Method: not only how they prefer to communicate (email, collaborative Google doc, face-to-face meetings), but what works best (are they always in their office, at a computer, or constantly on the go with or without access to technology?)
      • With our last elementary principal, we played with a variety when we found that emails were NOT the most effective. They got lost in other emails (going unanswered) and at busier times of the year, filling an inbox with dozens of emails each week.
    • Finding the balance of what works for all
      • Without reliable means to effectively communicate – even the greatest of plans will have its limits of success
      • It is also ever-changing. What works in week 1 may not be what works in 6 months. It needs to be evaluated regularly.
  • Successes and Shortcomings:
    • In this conversation we touched on what our school is doing well and how those pieces have made our school community what it is (or isn’t).
      • I say touch because I (as much as I try), as one person, from one lens, cannot accurately sum up all of our strengths and weaknesses. I think for him to get an accurate picture, it will take getting feedback from say our ESL families, our families with children in learning support or the gifted program, families from various economic circles, AND our teachers.
    • We do many great things, and want to preserve what we do well and what makes our school so special – but it is equally important to be candid about our shortcomings and maintain an open mind to new ideas so that we can continue to become a better place by the day for our children.

Our principal is still very new…and I know that although it is smooth going to start, as we dig deeper into tackling tasks, we will have our differences, and pieces may end up back at the start. But, with patience, an open mind, respect for one another and continuing to remember our kids are the why; I can go on believing that we will soon reach that second half of the game board again.


I Am Not A Perfect Parent!

Not A Perfect Parent

 

Perfection does not exist; especially in parenting.

Just this week…

  • I forgot about the “Read With Me” with my 1st grader. The only thing that saved me was that I was going to the school anyway, and remembered as I was parking.
  • I lost track of time and didn’t get home before my 7th grader (and I took his house key because I have temporarily misplaced mine), leaving him locked out of the house in the chilly fall weather for 15 min until I got home.
  • Made my daughter skip her dance class, not because she was sick, but because I couldn’t bear to do anything more or go anywhere else that day.

Yet somewhere, somehow along the line, I have given the impression that I am a “perfect parent.”  In my opinion, they don’t exist and anyone that says they do has never been a parent. When I mentioned to my children that someone might have this impression, all of them laughed. One said, “why would they say that?” Another, “that’s what they think!” And the best I got was a semi head nod and “so-so” hand gesture (from my littlest one…because at 6 I still rate).

The conversation came up in passing with another parent when we began talking about our children and school. This parent was almost apologetic when she said there are some nights that after a long day at work she simply wants to watch her show on occasion. Not do school work. When I said, I am no better, she was relieved and said I should video tape my evening as evidence. This makes me literally nauseous to hear another parent feel bad or apologize for not living up to anyone else’s standards.

Earlier this month, we hosted #ParentCamp at our school. Our keynote speaker was psychologist, Dr Adam Berman. He mentioned so many important points for parents to remember:

  • It is not natural nor beneficial for anyone to be solely focused on our child’s needs
  • Do not judge yourself or other parents
  • We need to have empathy for ourselves as parents
  • We need to learn from previous experiences
  • And….there is NO perfect parent

Parenting has to be one of the most difficult jobs. There is no training beforehand and there is no right answer. Not only can what works for one household not work for another – but what works for one child may very well not work for their sibling. Add to that the fact that there are no days off. (This was one of the harshest realities I remember facing as a new parent.) We have to do what we feel is best for our family…no one else’s.

So besides being bothered that someone has held me to a standard that I can never live up to; I was concerned that this image can or will cause others to tone out the suggestions that I and others share on how families can support their children and be effective advocates. Besides helping to build relationships between home and school, sharing out information and resources is the most important role our group can play. If someone thinks that these ideas are all or nothing. Then chances are they are going to opt for the nothing when they can’t keep up with doing it all every day.

When we share information with parents, be it from a PTO or school. I think we need to preface it with the fact that no one is expected to do these things with their child every day (other than love them, feed them and provide them with shelter). That you do WHAT you can, WHEN you can. That something IS better than nothing. Yes, we have goals to strive for – but they are just that, they are goals we are striving for. We share many, many ideas…it is up to each family to choose which best suit their family and that they can manage…and that may be different each day.

So for the record…Yes I try to be the best parent I can be, and I believe I have many good moments, but I don’t manage to do everything, every day. I am not a perfect parent, never will be, AND I don’t ever expect anyone else to be. 


SheilaSpeaking

A space for thinking, reflecting and sharing about education

Ingvi Hrannar

Icelandic educator, iPad 1:1 classroom, speaker & entrepreneur.

Penn-Finn Learnings 2013

Sharing our inquiries - March 23-30

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