Author Topic: Yes, but I expect better  (Read 6050 times)

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scansons

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Yes, but I expect better
« on: August 29, 2012, 05:48:27 PM »
I hope this is in the right place.  If not, Mods, please feel free to move it. 

B/G  Just this year we've moved and my oldest has started attending a small private religious school.  So far he loves it, and so do we.  Great teachers, great kids, great environment.  We are very pleased.  Except I have issues with the school principal.  He's young.  He's newish to the job.  And to me it really shows.   We're in a small town now, and I admit, I'm a city girl.  So maybe I'm being a little too critical. 

In the last several weeks I have witnessed the following:

1. Principal shows up to lead a parents meeting in dirty shorts and a sweatshirt. 

2. Principal shows up for chapel service, to which the parents are invited, and stands in the front, dressed in a shirt and tie, and slurping on a big gulp.  In the sanctuary.

3. I change my schedule around to volunteer for something he is in charge of.  I know he as my contact info, as he emailed me the schedule two days before.  When I show up they can't use my help, because of a transportation issue  on their part.  His response to "I'm here as your volunteer for the day" was "Um, how are you planning to get back?"   Not, "I'm sorry no one contacted you about our issues, we can't use your help today." 

Maybe I'm being grouchy, but we pay for our child to go to that school.  It's not cheep.  Is there a way to adress the utter lack of professionalism?  #3 is really the one that bugs me the most.  I realize the rest are probably a little petty.  But he wasted my time, which leaves me not wanting to volunteer again.  And we're less than  a month  into the school year. 

Sharnita

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 06:04:33 PM »
As a side note - while your tuition isn't cheap his salary as a principal at that school probably doesn't come close to what a principal makes in public schools.  You sacrifice a lot for your son to go there but I am sure he sacrifices a certain amount too.

1) In general it doesn't sound good, although I do wonder what was going on before.  Was he moving people into classrooms or something like that? If anything like that was the case then I actually find him admirable.

2) That really seems off to me but I have seen some churches and some people where it is perfectly fine to being a pop into church.  I was raised a lot more conservatively, although I have eventually reached a point where I will bring a bottle of water when I have a cough.  If his background is more relaxed he might need to adjust to the culture of the school/church. 

3) Who was in charge of the volunteers?  It sounds like he was in charge of the event but not the volunteers?  Why aren't they explaining to him how all this works?  I think they are your first contact.

GSNW

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 06:09:34 PM »
1- I would let this one go.  Not ideal certainly but maybe not worth bringing up in light of other stuff.
2- Can you address this with the clergy person in charge?  I agree that it's not appropriate or respectful.
3- Send a kindly worded email to the principal (or coordinator as necessary) stating that you lo e volunteering your time but also need to know xyz beforehand, please.  Polite but clear.

WillyNilly

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 06:18:08 PM »
I think these are very unprofessional behaviors.  I would expect more for a 16 year old at their first part time job on all 3 issues, so I certainly expect more from a professional educator.

How to address it is a different story though... who is above the principal in a private school?  Is there a Board of Directors or something?

scansons

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 06:20:53 PM »
As a side note - while your tuition isn't cheap his salary as a principal at that school probably doesn't come close to what a principal makes in public schools.  You sacrifice a lot for your son to go there but I am sure he sacrifices a certain amount too.

1) In general it doesn't sound good, although I do wonder what was going on before.  Was he moving people into classrooms or something like that? If anything like that was the case then I actually find him admirable.

2) That really seems off to me but I have seen some churches and some people where it is perfectly fine to being a pop into church.  I was raised a lot more conservatively, although I have eventually reached a point where I will bring a bottle of water when I have a cough.  If his background is more relaxed he might need to adjust to the culture of the school/church. 

3) Who was in charge of the volunteers?  It sounds like he was in charge of the event but not the volunteers?  Why aren't they explaining to him how all this works?  I think they are your first contact.


In answer to number three,  no one is exactly in charge of the volunteers.   Which is probably problem one.  However, he was the only one that knew about the last minute change, and so the only one who could have contacted me  to let me know.  Or any other parent for that matter.  That being said, I would  have been fine if I had shown up, and he'd been at least apologetic for the lack of communication.  I've worked both sides of the volunteer coin, and I know things come up.  But when people show up to help, I do think it behoves you to at least be polite. 

scansons

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2012, 06:23:39 PM »
I think these are very unprofessional behaviors.  I would expect more for a 16 year old at their first part time job on all 3 issues, so I certainly expect more from a professional educator.

How to address it is a different story though... who is above the principal in a private school?  Is there a Board of Directors or something?

There is a member  of the clergy that he works with and a parents board.  But I don't think  either of them are really in charge of   what he does.  Plus, it seems wrong to tattle on him without addressing my issues with him first. 

Pippen

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 06:35:44 PM »
It is definitely something the board would, and should, be addressing. It is not tattling on him it is bring some less than ideal behaviours to their attention. I would be very surprised if they did not know about it already seeing he is doing these things so publicly.

scansons

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2012, 06:46:22 PM »
It is definitely something the board would, and should, be addressing. It is not tattling on him it is bring some less than ideal behaviours to their attention. I would be very surprised if they did not know about it already seeing he is doing these things so publicly.

Which is a good point.  And also begs the question.  Maybe they know, and they don't care?

Jaelle

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 07:31:44 PM »
It is definitely something the board would, and should, be addressing. It is not tattling on him it is bring some less than ideal behaviours to their attention. I would be very surprised if they did not know about it already seeing he is doing these things so publicly.

Which is a good point.  And also begs the question.  Maybe they know, and they don't care?

That may be the case. Places are different. Frankly, I would like and appreciate the informality. Only you know if this is a priority for you. If it's a good school and my son likes it, these would be non-issues for me, but everyone is different.

The third thing, however, obviously should be addressed. There should be a point person for the volunteers. I would definitely make a comment to the board about that.
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
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Pippen

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 07:32:42 PM »
It is definitely something the board would, and should, be addressing. It is not tattling on him it is bring some less than ideal behaviours to their attention. I would be very surprised if they did not know about it already seeing he is doing these things so publicly.

Which is a good point.  And also begs the question.  Maybe they know, and they don't care?

 There is no harm in discreetly asking them if they are aware of the issues and if anything is being done about it. Sometimes these things will be done under the radar, so if you see an improvement in the behaviour they may well have had a quiet word with him. If it continues the OP would be well within their rights to request something is done about maintaining standards. No doubt the school has some pretty strict guidelines on pupils dress and behaviour and the Head master will have KPI's on these and setting an example as well.

LEMon

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 09:57:34 PM »
My usual way to start with such issues is to assume the best I possibly can and talk to the person based on those assumptions.  For example, perhaps he was doing something dirty before the meeting, perhaps the soda is ok with the church, perhaps he just hadn't realized that contacting you would be the best thing to do.  (If my assumptions are wrong, my thinking good of them often inspires them to be more open to change, than if I come in thinking they did something wrong and need to change.) 

Since the third is most important to you, I would say something casually like, "You know, I was thinking about the other day when X happened.  I know it would have been encouraging to know in advance that Y was going to happen.  Is there any way to make that happen in the future?"  (Assume he meant well and is open to making changes.)

Then go from there.

Malaika

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2012, 12:21:37 AM »
My answer is colored by the fact that I went to a private Christian school for 15 years (from 3 to 18).  I can't imagine either of the principals that I had doing any of those things.  Drinking from a big gulp in the sanctuary before chapel?  I think that's very inappropriate and not a good example for the kids.  I also can't imagine either one of them in shorts, much less dirty shorts.  (As far as I knew, they always wore the school polo/shirt and tie, even at nights and on weekends - I'm sure they had casual clothes but I never saw any evidence of them).

I've also worked in nonprofit organizations for almost 10 years now and volunteers need to be appreciated.  Nothing in your exchange with him from item #3 (""Um, how are you planning to get back?") says 'we appreciate your time and effort, thank you for your support'.  That's basic Customer Service 101 and should be second nature for a principal, particularly a principal at a private school. 

If it were me, I would have a quiet word with a member of the Board, if I knew one (even casually).  If you don't know any of the board, I'd approach the parents' council.  Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable enough with a one-on-one meeting with the principal but maybe you're braver than I am.   :) 

scansons

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2012, 08:25:04 AM »
My answer is colored by the fact that I went to a private Christian school for 15 years (from 3 to 18).  I can't imagine either of the principals that I had doing any of those things.  Drinking from a big gulp in the sanctuary before chapel?  I think that's very inappropriate and not a good example for the kids.  I also can't imagine either one of them in shorts, much less dirty shorts.  (As far as I knew, they always wore the school polo/shirt and tie, even at nights and on weekends - I'm sure they had casual clothes but I never saw any evidence of them).

I've also worked in nonprofit organizations for almost 10 years now and volunteers need to be appreciated.  Nothing in your exchange with him from item #3 (""Um, how are you planning to get back?") says 'we appreciate your time and effort, thank you for your support'.  That's basic Customer Service 101 and should be second nature for a principal, particularly a principal at a private school. 

If it were me, I would have a quiet word with a member of the Board, if I knew one (even casually).  If you don't know any of the board, I'd approach the parents' council.  Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable enough with a one-on-one meeting with the principal but maybe you're braver than I am.   :)

See, I'm with you there.  I never went to a private Christian school, but one of my sisters did.  And I've know several other principals in the same denomination.  And I've never seen any of them eating or drinking in a sanctuary, or dressed in less than business casual.  Never.  But it's a smaller, more rural school.  So to a point I'm willing to let it fly.  It's not great.  But, it's not really a complaining offense.   

The volunteer thing.  That's just poor, in my book.  For the same reason it seems to be poor in your book.  I don't mind dealing with him one on one.  But probably need to be in a kinder gentler state of mind.  Right now I'd probably still dope slap him. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2012, 08:36:48 AM »
I wouldn't address 1and 2 until you saw it repeated.  I can imagine a principal at the start of a school year heavily involved in moving things to classrooms so dressing casually or being so busy that the first time he had a moment for a drink was as he was running into chappel.

But I would address 3.  Send the principal a note saying you were suprised you had not been notified by him that your volunteer service was not required before you showed up.  But you realize he does not have a volunteer coordinator.  You'd be happy to advocate with the parent council to identify a volunteer coordinator role in an effort to improve communication. 

edited to fix typos.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 10:52:27 AM by Hmmmmm »

Sharnita

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Re: Yes, but I expect better
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2012, 10:08:44 AM »
I wouldn't address 1and 2 until you saw it repeated.  I can imagine a principal at the start of a school year heavy involved in moving things to classrooms so dressing casually or being so busy that the first time he had a moment for a drink was as he was running into chappel.

But I would address 3.  Send the principal a note saying you were suprised you had not been notified by him that your volunteer service was not required before you showed up.  But you realize he does not gave a volunteer coordinator.  You'd be happy to advocate with the parent council to identify a volunteer coordinator role in an effort to improve communication.

I would actually really admire a principal who did that so that is why I might give him a pass right now.