Pondering Parents

Okay. Yesterday was “Persuading Parents.” Today’s it’s: Pondering.

I re-read 3 old articles about American parent-teacher relations, and considered them anew in the China context.

1. My friend Greg Gunn writes:

From my conversations with hundreds of parents from all walks of life coping with academic concerns around their kids, I’ve seen a few factors emerge repeatedly as to why we are afraid or resistant to ask the tough questions.

We don’t know what we should be asking.

We don’t know how to evaluate the answers that the schools and educators give to us.
Continue reading “Pondering Parents”

Schools and September

I’m so impressed with The Croft School, which just launched in Providence.

A thought:

a) In schools, September has unusually large impact on the following 9 months. A nerdy way to say this would be: “The arbitrage of September.”

b) In schools, Year 1 (the year where it’s “new”) has a huge impact on all future years.

c) Add up “a” and “b,” and what we learn is: Wow, September of Year 1 really really matters.

If you build a strong culture, you ride that forever.

If you build a weak culture, then it’s hard to fix later.

That’s not true in all organizations.

In sports, for example, you want to peak at the end of a season, not the beginning. The best football team (the, ahem, New England Patriots), famously do NOT worry so much about September (the first month) and instead focus on December and January (the last 2 months).

What happens when you ask teachers: “What is the biggest surprise of September in your new school?”

Often they say “This is way harder than we expected.”

(That was the answer of Match Charter in September 2000).

At Croft, though:

Co-Teacher Cristina said it was the closeness she felt to each of our families in such a short period of time.

Co-Teacher Laura said it was the positivity and collaboration that have already come to define her co-teaching relationship with Cristina.

That’s an indicator of a good start.