Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Advocate Hour

Advocate Hour is once a week for an hour that day.  On Wednesdays, I check my children’s grades and attendance, email teachers, go to lunch with my babies, search around the district's website for ongoings that my little bits have neglected to tell me. One hour a week to keep the school to home communication alive and to be The Advocate. 
I picked Wednesdays for such tasks because as far as grades and attendance are concerned- there is not much one can do when the week runs out.  Attendance is firm by then, and grades are entered.  There also isn't much to monitor before Wednesday.  This weekly practice whatever day ensures that things don't get too out of hand.  A parent can know if their child is missing third period everyday, even if the teacher doesn't make the call home.  A parent can know if their child is struggling and failing.  A parent can also know when to praise for perfect attendance and rising grades. 
Today I faxed a note to my child’s wonderful (really) school to remind them of a minor error.  I carefully included the nature of the incident and how it made my child feel.  Remember people didn’t just sign up to be in education without caring about children's feelings. It’s simple- what happened and how it made the student feel.  My child was hurt because this happened. 
If you have access to fax and email, employ them first.  Don’t call and don’t show up unannounced.  Often in the midst of personalities and error throwing, the point gets missed.  I wrote my phone number on the fax and asked them to call me when the issue was resolved.   This implies that the receiver is completely capable of fixing the deal. 
The fax send time was 1:54; they called me in less than half an hour.  I didn’t answer the phone and waited for the message.  The message reported the entire issue had been resolved.  The resolution exceeded my expectations.  I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome!
I’ve been on both sides of the school house desk and under it a few times.  It is impossible to discuss your hurt child, without being hurt.  It’s near impossible to be hurt and not show it.  Subtle intonations are often ugly and loud.  In those moments the baby can get thrown out with the bath water. 
People are human. 
Why the fax, email, voice mail route?  In this day and age, documentation is important- sad, but true.  I wouldn’t need it for my child’s wonderful school, but you might.  It’s helpful for everyone involved. 
It’s 2:45.  I feel empowered; I’ve help my child.  I was The Advocate.  I’ve blogged about it for you and faxed a nice thank you note back to my child’s school. Advocate Hour – Check!

No comments:

Post a Comment