Parent’s 1# Request
Working with young people is a roller coaster with many ups, downs, twists, and turns. Some days things couldn’t be better; some days nothing seems to go well.
From time to time those “nothing seems to go well days” turn into parent conferences, and as a principal, I’ve had my fair share of them. Typically in those conferences, I listen to the parents’ concerns to understand the situation and learn their perspective, and then we try to identify the root problem and find opportunities to make things right going forward.
Negative conversations don’t make my list of favorite things about being a principal, so I rarely look forward to those meetings; however, Patrick Lencioni says, “Trust makes conflict the pursuit of truth,” and I’ve found myself looking forward to the end of them because I like to identify problems and find solutions.
Regardless of the conflict— whether it’s handbook concerns (like dress code), attendance, classroom behavior, major discipline issues, social concerns with other students, or really anything else that may come up at school— I’ve come to the conclusion that parents basically all want the same one thing.
Some may think parents want special treatment or an exception to be made for the children, but rarely— if ever— does that come up.
Instead, I’ve come to the conclusion that parents routinely want one thing— consistency. They want their child to be treated just like every other child, never feeling singled out. In fact, that’s something we all want. Even when we may not like a decision or policy, as long as everyone is held to the same standard, we can live with it. It’s those times when we perceive someone is getting special treatment that our radars are up. Students are no different (and there are more of them, so there are many radars up at all times).
As we start a new grading period, take a few moments to identify one or two areas of inconsistencies that you personally need to improve. Once you’ve done that, write them down, post it on your computer monitor, and make a commitment to improve. If needed, go a step further and tell a colleague to hold you accountable.
It’s going to be a roller coaster between now and Christmas. Let’s make sure we’re consistent whether it’s an up, down, backwards, sideways, or loop-filled day.