A parent sent me an email today. She wasn't sure if she ordered her child's school supplies from the school or if she'll need to go out and gather them. She knows she has ordered them from the school in the past, she just can't remember if she ordered them this year.
I am right there with her! I actually can't remember anything! Funny thing is, before having my own kids I would have been all judgie. I remember parents sending in occasional notes explaining why homework wasn't done. Regardless of the reason, I'd wonder about their commitment to their child's education. Terrible. I realize this now. Now, I have two children of my own and I work full time. I have two children and one has ADD. The other is a 14 year-old girl who even though she is "100% delightful and awesome in every way" can be a moody little nightmare who is sweet, one moment, and nominating me for Worst Mother of the Year, the next. The dog is perfect, except for when he is ticked off that we're spending time with friends and decides to pee on my bed and go all Kujo, tearing up my clothes, or worse yet, my guests' clothes! My husband is amazing. He does grocery shopping and laundry and helps around the house. But sometimes, he has a lot of crap going on at work or is traveling. Inevitably, his busy weeks line up with my busy weeks and the kids end up having a zillion things going on and life gets a little ugly for a bit. We survive.
Wouldn't the survival be just a touch easier if we didn't feel like we were being judged? I'm too judgmental. While I can't control people who may judge me, I can work to be less judgie.
This can be hard. Sometimes I add a nice blog post to my classroom website. In it I document evidence of the impressive learning going on and I include cute pictures. I email parents to tell them that the blog has been updated. Then...nada...nothing. I don't expect a letter outlining all the ways that the parents think I'm extraordinary. I don't. However, a thirty second, "thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading about what is going on in my child's classroom" would make a huge difference for me. I'd feel appreciated. I'd feel like my hard work was worth it. Wait! Stop!
That is not why I share out in my classroom blog. It is not to get feedback. It is not so that parents will acknowledge my hard work. I share so that parents know what is going on in the classroom. When I don't hear back from them, well, I know I've shared the information. Mission accomplished.
I have no idea what kind of week the parents are having when I send out that email. Reading my blog could be #37 on a list of 50 important things that they've got to do to support their child that week.
I'm going to keep doing my best. I'm going to try to stay focused on my goals and intentions. I'm going to take time to be actively empathetic. I will try to judge less and support more.
We are all in it together and this business of raising and educating children is no easy task.