Let’s Be Great Partners in Education
Can I tell you a story? It’s a funny story, but funny-bizarre not funny-ha ha.
About fifteen years ago when I worked at a school in Melbourne’s east, there was a pair of sisters who were mums of children at the school. I think one mum had two children, and the other mum had three. There were dads too, but we didn’t see the dads much.
What wasn’t funny was the way these mums communicated. If they weren’t cross, they were cranky. If they weren’t sniping, they were snapping. If they weren’t impatient, they were irritated. If they weren’t unhappy about something they were … oh no, hang on there was never a time when they weren’t unhappy about something. They were always unhappy about something; unhappy about something was their state of being. Just imagine their digestion!
These cranky mums regularly talked about all the things we teachers were doing wrong. They made demands, in a demanding way.
What was ‘funny’ about these two mums was that they thought that by being demanding they would get what they wanted. But of course, their bossiness actually had the opposite effect. Not surprisingly, their cranky communications did not bring out the best in us teachers.
And that taught me something … partnership, good partnership with teachers is the way to get the best for your children.
Smart parents bring out the best in their children’s teachers by communicating as good partners, not as adversaries. Smart parents don’t make demands; smart parents ask to hear the teacher’s perspective, and then they listen, engage and share.
For example, our really smart parents here at MCC say to their children’s teachers: “Can I get your perspective on something?” By saying that, those parents show they value the teacher’s viewpoint, and that makes the teacher ready to hear the parents’ viewpoint. Now that is smart. Listening to each other is good communication. Listening first is great communication.
At our school here, partnership is where parents and teachers work together to enhance their child’s education. Parents want that, teachers want that, and by listening as good partners, parents and teachers are going to get that. Parents and teachers, we can be good partners, so let’s be good partners. Good partners communicate clearly and kindly.
Let’s be great partners. Great partners listen first.
David Gleeson, Principal