Without Relationships what is the relevance?
Tonight FFC was at our biggest yet workshop, a whole school staff of a school of over 700 students, it was daunting.
I travelled up with the start of a migraine and only the chocolate freckle at the local cafe before helped to ease it.
Some of the doubts weren't about the message, that's sound and evidence based, way beyond my shallow vacuous self. But about the engagement of the audience, sometimes a whole staff after hours are not as engaged if it's a mandated thing, some who couldn't care less about the level of engagement with parents, other than at parent teacher night it isn't always top of their mind, and really as parents we want our kids to be top not us.
I also thought about a blog I read this week about conferences and the disconnect to practice, that me as an outsider going into the school had little to offer. So I stepped into the school nervous.
I shouldn't have worried, it was as an outsider an amazing school, I have been before and was impressed then, but this was even more- they were welcoming and open, a school that oozed friendly and remarkable- a standard for all schools to aim for. Now I have to say my own children's school is my all time favourite but this school- wow.
These dedicated staff all showed up after teaching all day, and were enthusiastic and giving, there was of course the normal in school inner circles of no six degrees of separation people who had taught where we had been, one who even used to rock my miss21 to sleep- small small world really.
We offered them PowerPoint with comic sans and my bad spelling on a white board, and no I didn't write on the smart board, it was just a white board, but what we shared was bigger than new fangled presentations with fancy pics and cool fonts, it was more important than the latest fad that says this is the new way, this will improve your standing in the eyes of media or pollies or social commentary on schools.
What we shared was that kids do better when you build relationships- and we shared relationships, maybe some would say overshared but in the world today that's how it is, and to build respect and understanding you need a relationship first. I could quote here lots of educational gurus who I fangirl over, but this one would be "relationships over roles".
I left on a high of excitement from the collaboration of the staff at 8pm, all appeared to have been willing to continue, all still engaged in a cold BER hall after a long long day, all who had also made food to share for our meal. Amazing staff yes, but just the unsung teachers who everyday make a difference to my kids, your kids, our kids.
They aren't the gurus who we all skip a beat just to be in the room with, but these teachers and staff are tonight my superheroes and I feel privileged to have shared with them.
Relationships really are why it's relevant. And the relevance builds the relationship.