Just returned from my son's 8th grade Back-to-School night held I should add in the midst of the rain storms which meant we had a number of teachers who couldn't make it. Still, the evening produced a number of aha's and learning moments for me.
- Younger teachers are, well, just more connected to their students. It shows up in the conversation where they are relating to the students (you know talking about how they are used to learning visually not through reading and how to bridge that) while the older teachers related to the parents (you know commiserating with how those kids are). Plus, these younger teachers integrate technology into the classroom. They embrace more enthusiastically our online system, Teachers Ease. They talked in terms of integrating visual, interactive activities into the classroom. And one even has his presentation set up in Prezi! We must meet our members/customers/employees/volunteers at least half-way!
- Schools teach practical skills and theory. This year’s family consumer science class is focusing its cooking on healthy foods and consumer education on financial literacy. Many of the other classes are clearly more theoretical. We need both -- in our association education programs too!
- Plan B needs to be a useful as Plan A. As I mentioned, we are the midst of a rain storm with flash flooding and power lines down and more. So some teachers couldn’t come. Plan B. If you’re homeroom teacher isn’t there, meet in the media center and we’ll begin as a group. First up in any case was a live feed from the in-school TV studio. If you had a period without a teacher, visit the cafeteria or media center to connect with other staff. And of course, visit with the PTA, music boosters and the principal. There's never an excuse not to plan.
- “I hook them where they are and take them where I want them.” Best quote of the evening from the music teacher!
- The new volunteer just isn't embraced yet. As I wandered during a “free period” I spoke the PTA reps. I joined. There was no pressure to and less pressure to volunteer. But (being a serial volunteer and a volunteer manager) I took the initiative to ask about volunteering. I said, I don’t want a full-time job. I want to be an open volunteer. They said what? I said you know get on a list and when you need someone for something quick, you email the group. If I can do it, I raise my hand. The PTA president said that was a good idea but clearly wasn’t going to institute it. The other rep, who was in charge of “entering information in the computer” said well please indicate which projects because I need to put something in. Well, I guess the idea of the new volunteer and building an adhocracy wasn’t quite there for them yet. Never too late to change!