Friday, October 26, 2018

Schoolhouse Tears

I typically cry about 4-5 times a year in the school house. I am a crier. I feel my emotions deeply and when expected supports are not there frustration sometimes turns to tears. While many don't cry, some of us do--it is who we are, and those tears signal a need for reflection, discussion, clarification, and potential change.

The tears arose yesterday when an expected support did not arrive. I was left with a difficult situation with regard to serving all my students well and had to make an on the spot decision about what was best. The tears arose from a lack of expected support and the feeling that I was on my own without the kind of care and support I expected. The situation led to questioning about reasonable expectations when events like that happen--what can I expect, what is the protocol that exists for situations like this, and what should I do if a similar event happens in the future? Fortunately the situation wasn't a dire situation--I rarely cry when situations are clearly out of our hands, severe situations. In those situations, I go into survival mode and prioritize easily, but when small issues are messy and unexpected, I become frustrated because I feel like we can do better with situations like that.

Every day in school there's a fair number of unexpected events--events that disrupt well made plans and routines. People get sick, family issues arise, children have conflicts, expected supports/materials don't arrive, and resources break. The unexpected is a daily expectation, yet how do we minimize the unexpected so that we can successfully employ positive routines and efforts to teach well? How do we streamline systems so that we mitigate the unexpected? How do we update routines and responses in this regard?

Some questions related to this that we face include the following:
  • What professional jobs are replaced with substitutes when teachers are sick, have personal days, or are caring for family matters? 
  • How are changes in staffing and daily plans communicated with lead time so curriculum plans can be updated and changed accordingly?
  • What are the expected times for daily events such as morning messages, afternoon messages, and dismissal? The more consistent and known these times are, the better our plans and efforts can be.
  • What are the routines for receiving extra support when unexpected events arise that require extra staffing? This is seldom needed, but important when needed.
  • What is the turn around time for questions regarding purchasing requests, curriculum support, and program development? 
  • How do we best address critical issues, challenging critique, and program development needs and ideas in positive, proactive ways? 
  • What goal setting processes are in place and how do we ensure that those processes are well made, inclusive, and positive with regard to building strong, dynamic teaching/learning communities?
The more fluid, positive, and understandable routines, protocols, and communication can be, the better our systems will run, and the better we'll be able to serve all students. Onward.