Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Leave well enough alone or ………….

I can’t help myself!

I see something not quite right, and I want to fix it.

Firstly I do feel the need to say that as far as schools go from the parents perspective we were damn spoilt at YIS and that's my problem. 

it's human nature to refer to our experiences, and make comparisons, be they good or bad.

The PTSA (Parents, Teachers, Students Association) had a bad wrap from parents when we first arrived, but despite warnings from friends, I joined the committee and took on the responsibility of Monthly Coffee Mornings …. And 8 months later, stood for and was elected VP Events, something I am still very proud of.

Our mentor program for new families had been in place for a few years and was pretty good, and with some fine tuning here and there, we increased the positive feedback comments on our bi-annual survey and reduced the negitive ones.

Our Parents Activities were always stressful to organise, but once we sorted out venues within school to hold them, parents had numerous places to meet’n’greet, experience a new craft or sport or discover a love for a new hobby.

The PTSA was a wonderful source of information, friendship, community in what could be a very lonely expat environment for new families arriving – regardless of your nationality or mother tongue.

Parents were welcomed into school and classes (within reason obviously) and we had FUN with the administration.

The mission for the PTSA was as much about community as fundraising (Food Fair was a huge event, taking several months of constant planning)

Our new school is the opposite and I’m wondering is it as simple as International school vs UK Independent school – as in one school used to a constant ebb and flow of students/families vs. a fairly stable group (enter at reception and leave year 6)

Apparently we also have Grade Parents – I met mine 3 weeks after starting at pick up. She greeted me with ‘I’m so sorry its taken me so long to meet you. Bet you’re all organised now’ and that was that. 

The wesbtie says that all new families will be given a family from within your childs year to help you and your child assimilate – well, we’ve assimilated, but not because we were introduced to one family. We simply put ourselves out there and made friends! Mind you, those first few weeks were the loneliest Mia and I had experienced in years (all good now)

One whole term went by before a coffee morning was organised, and I offered to host it at my place simply because no one else did, and I have oodles of parking space. By this stage there were 5 new families in our year, and only 2 of us had met the class rep. (Funny what things stress you out hehehehehe)

Whether new to the UK and school as we were; or new to school ... you are new to the school community and should be offered help to know what's going on, how things are done etc.

My PTSA friends will laugh ..... The PMA has hosted ONE EVENT in six months (I was on the sub committee and had fun learning how they do things) and it was a fundraiser for a charity the school supports. How do you create community with ONE event in six months?

End of term came around, and as it was a half day, I asked ‘do we do anything at end of term’ Not really. So I asked a few friends around for lunch and soon there were 20 of us at the local park having a picnic. Everyone had a great time, plans were made to catch up over holidays, people shared information about holiday camps etc, everyone said thank you for organising and what a great idea it was.

How hard is that?

Why don’t others think of this sort of thing?

I’m the new kid (well, 6 months new) at the school and I’m the one organising stuff.

Why can’t I leave things alone?

We’ve just received the notes from the parents rep meeting and OMG! There are so many  simple community oriented solutions. For example, the mums with toddlers don’t want the bubs interrupting the weekly assembly and have asked for a crèche situation to be set up. School has explained all staff need to be present at assembly but the mums can use one of the school rooms to be with the little ones.

How silly is that!? If the mums are minding the kids, they are missing out on the assembly. They might as well go home. Why not set up a rota of parents in this situation so that the majority can attend the assembly each week. DOH? Or hey, it’s a school – a bit of toddler noise won’t hurt anyone.

Do I step forward and make suggestions or leave well enough alone?

I can hear DH  - back off and shut up.

I can hear you saying the same thing.

Heck, I can hear myself saying the same thing.

Instead of writing a response to the email, I thought I’d simply haveachat with you.

There, feel much better now it's off my chest, thanks for listening.

With friendship

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