Which Group Are You In?
Thank you to our School Administrators.
Mid-March last year as we all fully recall was the start of the craziest year on record during our lifetimes. Our school systems immediately had some of the biggest decisions to make. Many operations and leaders had decisions to make.
I don’t ever like replaying the past or dwelling on the past. I like to look back, reflect, and discuss as necessary with team members or family so that we may do an “autopsy” on “why” things occurred. Then move forward, learn from the events and the “autopsy” on the “whys”. The tough part about our current situation, is we have all learned many things from COVID, but we aren’t to the point of doing an “autopsy” yet. We are getting close to the roll-out of vaccinations and the further development of herd immunity.
As I looked back on our schools and those events, I recall a lot of angry parents. I knew it was going to be very very tough for administrators because they have one of the most difficult jobs on the planet dealing daily with one of the two most important things to all people. Those two most important things are people’s kids, and people’s money. You see, my parents dealt with both. My mom dealt with people’s kids, and my dad dealt with people’s money, and they both pissed off plenty of people, dealing with other people’s two most important things.
People get funny about their money and their kids. Period. Stress brings out stupid. We had all of these things taking place at once. People, money, kids, and stress! It was a perfect storm! And now, things seem to be settling out, and people have a good understanding that at the end of the day, most all school administrators are doing the absolute best they can, given the situation, the people, the demands, the state, and federal protocols.
I have had conversations with various administrators, and their challenges have been great, to say the least. As you read the following, I want you to sit back, reflect, be open-minded, vulnerable, and humble as I share a couple of stories. The following is a parent telling an administrator a few words…. “You are ruining my son’s senior year of football……………” with a few colorful words added as this administrator told parents they could not attend games due to county health department guidelines. The parent emailed the superintendent and said “you aren’t doing enough for our seniors!” Meanwhile, if this parent would have a more broad, deeper, humble, and understanding mind, they would have realized the administration was hustling their tails off to find venues out of the county where they could play and have parents and spectators attend. But to many parents, it’s never enough.
Second story….Parent X ripping an administrator because a teacher was playing fun music as students entered the zoom room for class each day and the teacher took the time to connect with students via “her stupid little questions about how they were doing and feeling about the end of the quarter.” This excellent teacher was taking a few moments to allow kids a break from content to truly check in on their well-being. This parent “never got it”….just griped and yelled.
Now, on the flip side, I think all administrators will tell us there is also the complete opposite group of AMAZING parents! They have been kind, caring, understanding, supportive, and grateful. So my question is, which group do you want to belong to? Which group have you belonged to? I believe I know which group 80% of parents want to be in, it’s up to you to do those things to belong to the group you want to be in.
I also realize, not all administrators were created equally great. If you struggle with an administrator, go talk to them. Do so with humility, an open mind, no attacking, use the right words, do not point fingers, and create an open dialogue. Ask more questions rather than telling them your direct opinion, they hear that every day from others not smart enough to ask questions but rather shout their opinion when they have never led a school full of teachers and kids.
Back to my question to you. Which group do you want to be in? Which group have you been in? Your child’s career has not been ended by COVID cause you can’t attend a game. Your child will be just fine. Your child is more resilient than you know. Your child isn’t always as precious as you think. Your child needs you to back off and be less of a helicopter and let them fail. Your child needs you to simply love them, support them, have solid boundaries, have solid conversations, have solid rules to obey. Your child needs you to have administrator's backs and have teacher’s backs.
Today, send a text or an email to your child’s teachers and administrators and thank them for all the challenges they have dealt with. Thank them for the insurmountable work they have done for your child. Maybe you are guilty and have said some words to a teacher or administrator that were not appropriate, tell them you are sorry and ask for forgiveness for your words. They aren’t perfect, and you aren’t perfect. But, at the end of the day, most teachers and administrators absolutely love kids and love to see them grow. Otherwise, they would surely find something else better to do rather than teach.
I’m afraid if we don’t do this, we may see more jobs needed to fill in our education system. So get to calling them and thanking them!!! Which group are you going to be in? Trust me, as a teacher’s son, teacher’s talk…..And you are already “in a group”. It’s up to you to change it if you need to!