One community, a world of difference

18 November 2016

I had a great tea session with my Grade 4 to 6 parents this week. All of these parents are not new to me, for I have interacted with them informally all these months I have been here at HWA.

A discussion about what “partners” mean arose during the meeting. I was glad to share how my management philosophy guided my interaction with parents in my previous schools. Some schools I know of treat parents like they are the plague (to be avoided at all costs) or as money cows (to be milked and not listened to). Other schools treat parents like they are God and pander to everything they demand, as paying customers.

How about this Principal? This Principal treats parents as partners in the education of his students. And partners should be involved in the many matters of the school community. Some schools, like many not-for-profit or trust schools, take it all the way, with parents represented in the board, and with a strong say in curriculum and branding matters. Right now, we involve parents in events and communicate with them, but I see a need to involve our parents even more in the school, as partners in education.

Complicating this relationship is the fact that our partners have values and beliefs in education that can span a wide range. For every parent who demands more Chinese to be taught, we can find another who demands more English. For every parent who demands more rigour in our curriculum, we can find another who wants their kid to enjoy their childhood.

As such, it is more viable to speak to parent representatives, rather than all parents. It is in the interest of the school to have as diverse a representative in their Parent Support Group as possible. In a previous school I worked in, each community (Korean, Taiwanese, Singaporean, British, American, Indian, Japanese, etc) was well-represented and provided diverse viewpoints when management needed feedback from our partners.

I would like to take the opportunity here to put out a plug for our wonderful Parents Support Group, run by Chairperson Mrs Ruth Li. Together with her core group of parents, they have been instrumental to the success of many of our events, and have given us important feedback to make the school a better place not just for their children, but for the entire HWA community. Please do get in touch with her at normandruth@gmail.com and be part of this Parents Support Group. I really want to see the views of our entire HWA family represented.、

Writing about educational management can take the fun out of an educator. Time for me to stop and pop by the Math & Science Fair happening right now at the Junior School!

 

本周我和4到6年级学生的家长们有个相当愉快的早茶会。这些家长对我来说并不陌生,因为在我入职HWA的几个月时间里已经跟他们有许多的接触。

在早茶会间我们谈到了关于家长作为学校“伙伴”的话题。我非常开心可以和家长们分享我在之前学校的管理理念,这些理念帮助我与家长们良好互动和交流。据我所知,很多学校对家长是避而不及,能闪躲就闪躲。有些则把家长当作生财工具,认为不需要关心聆听。另外有些学校则把家长当作上帝,迎合他们的任何要求因为他们是花了钱的顾客。

那HWA的校长呢?HWA的校长把家长看作我们在教育孩子方面的伙伴。作为伙伴他(她)们在学校这个群体里扮演相当重要的角色。许多学校,像非营利学校或者信托学校始终坚持让家长代表出席董事会,并且在课程和学校品牌化方面有举足轻重的发言权。如今,我们学校的家长参与学校各样的活动并且和学校保持密切的沟通。我觉得仅仅这些是不够的,我们仍然需要做的更努力才能真正让他们成为我们在教导孩子方面的伙伴。

每位家长不同的价值观和教育理念将使学校与家长间的关系复杂化,这是源于家长们的想法经常千差万别。有的家长想要更多的华语课时,同时就会有家长想要更多英文课。有的家长希望安排更严谨课程,同时也会有家长希望孩子们能有快乐轻松的童年。

因此,与其和每一位家长交流,我认为和家长代表交流更为可行。 多元化的家长会代表组成是对学校有益的。在我之前工作的学校,每个群体(韩国人,台湾人,新加坡人,英国人,美国人,印度人,日本人等等) 都有各自非常优秀的代表,并且在管理层需要家长的反馈时都能提出很多建设性的提议。

我想借此机会鼓励再次介绍我们优秀的家长会。许多成功的活动和建设性的反馈都由她和她的家长会团队来协助 。家长会给了我许多重要的反馈,也帮助学校变得更好。他们不仅仅是为了他们的孩子,而是为了整个HWA大家庭。我诚挚的邀请您联系邰女士normandruth@gmail.com参与我们的家长会。我也非常期待听到整个HWA大家庭代表更多的建议。

撰写教育管理的文章实在让一名教育家失去了教育的乐趣 。不过,是时候结束了!因为,现在我得去小学部看看数学和科学周的活动,做回一名教育家啦!

 

Michael Chan 曾俊成

Principal 校长

Hillside World Academy