Facing La Frontera

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 05 2012

Parent Whisperer


This week, we’re taking the students on an overnight camp trip (cabins, challenge by choice activities, etc). We leave Thursday & return Friday evening. It’s a reward for the students based off how many behavior points they have earned. The bottom 20% stay behind.

Somehow, probably after people figured out which students weren’t invited, it became “the thing” to just choose not to go. After we realized this, I somehow ended up in the role of calling parents to discuss with them so that we could hopefully override the student’s friend-focused, short-minded decision.

One example just required putting things into perspective for the students: “I just don’t understand why you athletic boys would prefer to sit inside writing essays that I’m going to leave for you all day.” oh, their faces were priceless. “But-but, last year, they got to watch movies!!”   They signed up minutes later.

If you know me, you know I love speaking to parents when they’re not mad at me. I’ve successfully spoken with at least 10 parents now and gotten their students signed up. The best ones were today.

I called a father who had grounded his daughter from the trip because she had lied about getting her progress report. I completely supported his decision, but also mentioned that I just felt bad that “your daughter is going to miss this unique leadership opportunity that she earned, and instead, she’ll be doing work with other students who didn’t earn the privilege of attending the trip.”

At first he said no, but she called later this evening saying he had changed his mind.

I’m hoping for the same thing with the parents who were worried about sending their daughter on the overnight trip. Yay for promoting extra-curricular opportunities for students!!


Quote of the week – “I can be myself without the sky falling in.”

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