Monthly Archives: April 2013

We Are Our Children’s Role Model

Its not always what you do and say LR

From the time they are little. Before they can use their words. We tell our children to use inside voices, share their toys, say/wave hello. As they get older, we send them to school and friend’s houses and remind them to be good, use their manners, and remember to say please & thank you.

We talk so much about teaching our children to be compassionate, empathetic and respectful of others, both in school and at home, yet as our family begins another baseball season, I am quickly reminded why our children do what they do. Why we continue to see kids saying and doing hurtful things to others. Just as they mimic the positive things the adults in their lives do, they also mimic the negative.

In just the last week I witnessed parents yelling at umpires, arguing with coaches who are volunteering their time, complaining about a schedule not working with their personal schedule, making insulting about the kids on the opposing team, and a mom shocked that I would allow her to sit on the my dry blanket on the wet bleachers simply because I was from the opposing team. After watching and coaching my children in sports over the last 10 years, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore…yet I am because I do believe there is more good than bad; that the bad news simply travels faster and speaks louder. These issues are not limited to sports; we witness them while shopping, at work and while at school, just about anywhere you go.

We need to remember that children are not only listening to what we tell them, but they are also observing our actions. We need to model those “good” traits that we so wish for our children to possess…even when we think they aren’t paying attention.

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Does Your PTO Portray Your School Community?

When you look around your parent association meeting, who is there? Do you have all parties involved represented? I mean ALL parties, circles, groups, neighborhoods, communities…ALL. As we elect our new board members, I think it is important to remember to include all lenses, not only on our board – but as voices in our meetings and partners in the planning and running of events/activities. As a parent association, it is our responsibility to represent our schools.

When I look at many boards (including the one I belong to), I see a small group represented. I love our team and appreciate their efforts and time, but we represent less than half of our families. We are growing in diversity recently – but until I see every neighborhood, grade, ethnicity, religion, language, learning support/gifted classes,  staff, district admin, school board and community members, I will not be content. How can we accurately make decisions affecting all of our children, if we don’t know what their concerns or wishes are?

We have a large school with diverse cultures and socio-economic conditions…so there are lots of families to represent. There is no way to represent all of those families unless they are present. By present, I don’t mean strictly at our monthly meetings. They could be a class captain (if your captains are used as a resource/liaison), just as long as they are part of the discussions. I know some people feel that it is up to those individuals to jump in. But sometimes we need to extend that hand, put out the welcome mat and offer them a cup of coffee in order to get them to initially participate.  We need to start with the personal, face to face interaction. Give them someone to connect with. Someone they can recognize at the next event or meeting. From there, we can use all the pieces of technology and social media to keep in regular contact….stay fresh in their mind, and build the relationship.  Many of us start off as a small piece of the puzzle (something in their comfort zone, related to their child) and gradually grow to become a larger section of the puzzle (being a voice, leading).

I know the administrators, school board and community members might not have children at our school, and their participation may be a stretch – but they’re making decisions that can affect our children, so it only makes sense that they see firsthand what families are concerned with. A few months ago, our group was lucky to have our assistant superintendent join us. This is the first time I have been at one of our home & school meetings where someone from the district joined in. I must say, it was such a positive addition. Not only does it help to build the relationship between people who see each other so seldom, it gave a voice to the district. There were a few questions/comments that came up that we (school level) didn’t have the answer for, and she was able to provide that – right then and there. I can only imagine a school board member and members of the community could also add that nice balance.

All of these people are key pieces in our puzzle to build a strong, cohesive community. It is important to look to include them all as we go forward.

image credit: sxc.hu


SheilaSpeaking

A space for thinking, reflecting and sharing about education -- and the odd other thing...

Ingvi Hrannar

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

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