Many people believe that we need to put more money into the education system in order to improve student success. Unfortunately money does not grow on trees and so we need to ensure that we make the best use of the funding we receive. While it may help, money alone cannot improve success for children in their education. So what would you say if we told you that schools can move a long way forward to achieving success for their students and it would not cost anything? Would you believe us? Do you know what it is?
Relationships: No amount of money (or legislation) in the world can build the relationships for us. Only time, the desire and commitment to build and maintain those relationships will do it. In one of John Maxwell’s books on relationships he writes “No one undertakes a journey alone. We depend upon others constantly – to move us towards our destination. We cannot succeed without the help of others.” Solid and healthy relationships depend on teamwork that has five characteristics:
~ Respect ~ Shared Experience ~ Trust ~ Reciprocity ~ Mutual Enjoyment ~
When you work together to build healthy relationships that include these elements you will be more successful and able to make a positive impact on your world.
Each of us 4Moms have held executive positions in our school or district parent advisory councils as well as executive positions on the provincial Board of Directors for BCCPAC. We fulfilled those roles believing that relationships were the most important part of that position we held. We each believed that we would not be effective in those roles if we did not work to develop positive and respectful relationships with everyone we were involved with. We worked hard together to develop the 5 characteristics with others. And because we were able to build strong working relationships we were able to work well together. That isn’t to say we did not have disagreements, because we did. But because we had mutual respect and trust we were often able to move past the bumps in the road and continue to work together.
It is easy to build working relationships between principals, educators and support staff because they work day in and day out together. But where do parents fit into the relationship equation? We know from experience that it is often very hard for parents to make the first steps to build the type of relationship we are talking about so we would ask you, as the educators, to take that first step. Start by greeting parents at the door as they come into the school. Say hello, introduce yourself, ask how their children are doing that day and build from there. Don’t wait until there is a problem before reaching out to the parents. Relationships take time and they are easier to make when there is not an issue/problem to address. If you can build those relationships when times are good, the problems that might arise when times are not so good are much easier to handle. As well, when you have a good relationship with everyone who has a vested interest in ensuring success for each child, you become part of the solution.
A good relationship takes time and effort and doesn’t cost a dime to get!