Major Social Marketing Mistake

This blog doesn’t allow me the space I need to include the audio file of this transcript, but you can find it here. This post won’t make sense if you don’t read/listen to it. This is NOT a search marketing post, more one about how the viral internet can spread, with my comments here on a post/wmv that has.

My comments as an ex-teacher on the post:

  1. Many parents are irresponsible
  2. Many parents are clueless
  3. Many parents are caring and concerned
  4. I understand the post, but do not condone their approach

For the irresponsible,

This is a wake-up call to listen to the teachers of your children. You put them in the school. If you don’t like what they do – even in public school – you can make your voices heard, if you take the time:

  • Ask for data
  • Ask for solutions
  • Recommend solutions
  • Move your kids
  • Relocate

Your kids are the biggest blessing the Good Lord ever gave you. If you don’t like where they are, or the teachers they have. Do something. If you don’t care, or are silenced by government rhetoric– take them home and teach them yourself. It’s not easy.

For the clueless

Parents! You were children once.

  • Do you remember what you loved and hated about your parents?
  • Do you remember what you wished they had been?
  • Do you remember what it felt like to ‘feel alone’, ‘no-one understands me’, ‘no-one cares’, ‘I’m nothing’
  • Did you ever feel like ‘I have nothing to offer compared to peter, paul, sally’, ‘my parents don’t care so if I disrespect my teachers, it’s all good’’, ‘my parents don’t love me, why should I show care to others?’ and on and on

Parents are ultimately responsible for how their children behave in their younger school years. Sure, from the age of 12 and up they should know how to be responsible members of society – but that is NOT the teacher’s or the school’s responsibility. That is the parent’s responsibility, with some reliance on the teachers teaching them the academics that are age associated.

For the Caring and Concerned

  • I can’t comment on this school, but I do know that teachers tend to chat in the staff room about the kids in their classes and their perceptions of the parents. Most are incredibly impartial and do their utmost to be fair in the classroom – and it’s not easy.
  • It’s also not the teachers fault if little Johnny (from a disciplined home*) does better than little Peter (from a home where ‘everything goes’ – regardless of reason)
  • Loving your kids does not give parents license to allow them to become undisciplined little monsters with the expectation that ‘school will sort them out’.
  • You have one, maybe 2 to contend with. School has 10-30 per class.
  • If you don’t like what the school is doing, let them know! Most teachers are more than open to hear from parents. In fact, apart from the slightly overbearing or hysterical parents, they hear nothing or very little.

My understanding – without condoning – of this message

I was a teacher in a very good school for a few years before my twins were born. My students did very well, and I harboured and maintained the school’s sense of respect for both teachers and elders – neither of which our society conforms to today in general.

I did however work for a time, as part of my training, in a public school and the parents ritually:

  • Lied for their children when the truth would have been hard, but helped them to avoid the consequences
  • Excused their children from school, homework, gym, library etc. for entirely fallacious reasons – most thinking they were helping their children avoid a consequence they were responsible for, and should have answered.
  • Defended their behaviour under unacceptable circumstances

In the public school realm, this is the norm in many (not all) instances – and I am sure my experience of England – and this experience of Australia – may not extend to the US and Canada? You tell me. Recent examples leap to mind including the burning of that 15 year old youngster, the rape of another young girl at a prom, and more…

It is not the teachers to blame entirely, nor the school system, but the parents. Ultimate obedience or disobedience, understanding of consequences and ability to integrate with society lies with the dad, mom and close family values and practice.

This answering message unfortunately lacks foresight, understanding of the full repercussions of such a statement, and is in itself offensive with no outlet to concerned parents to actually report a sick or absent child.

For the parents of this school, perhaps you need to go back and get a poll on how your parent body behaved to prompt this response, not cause it.

For the school, this type of response, while understood by staff, is inappropriate in its tone and entirely unacceptable to both students and parents alike. Students, like parents, will stand by their own and while the message was enlightening, it was alienating. I doubt that was your intent as a public school body, and yet I understand that the excuses, lies and misinformation are a hard-cross to bear.

Deal with it as best you can, but not by an abusive, uncaring voice-mail.  




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