I attended a workshop sponsored by our school district last Wednesday. It was run by a middle school guidance counselor, and the speaker was a local psychiatrist. You can read about his profile here.
It was meant for parents, but I attended as both a mother AND a teacher in the district.
We are a large, suburban school district in a town that holds the county seat. We are predominantly White, with a growing population of Asian and Indian, some Black and finally a Latino/ELL population. We are not without our challenges, but all press and data indicates that we are among the strongest in the state and nation.
The topic was supposed to be about stress of your children and how to help them, but what actually unfolded (from my perspective, anyway) was chilling. By the end of the week, I’ll have explained what I mean, so be sure to keep coming back every day!
Many times, these events are preaching to the choir: those who attended are the parents who are already doing the right thing because they attend workshops about parenting. But this time, all the right people were in the seats… but for all the wrong reasons. And I fear that the message somehow got lost. This is not to discredit the speaker, however. I think as the evening progressed, both he and I realized that the focus of the night was shifting and there was not much to be done about it… except to maybe hold another night dedicated to that same topic of stress.
It was only 1.5 hours. The first half an hour was dedicated to speaker, presenting on:
- What is Stress?
- When/Where does it happen?
- Why does it happen?
- What can we do about it?
From there, it was to open up as a discussion/Q and A period, where people could write questions on note cards and receive advice to best help their children deal with stressors in their lives… that’s when it got really interesting.
The GC (guidance counselor) did mention that this was intended to be the first in a series of talks, so there is some hope that the same crowd will come back… and when I say “crowd,” I mean about 250 people in a small administration room. And I don’t even think it was publicized that much; I’m sure if there was another night with more advertising, we could easily move the venue to one of the middle schools and fill at least half of the auditorium.
In fact, that reminds me- I need to write to the GC about that prospect… (I actually taught in her building for 13 years, so we have a rapport.)
As I said, I had attended as both a parent AND a teacher. But in all honesty, I also attended as my blogging/writing self since I had planned to write about the night on this #153Promise site. I had managed to speak with him for a minute or two after the engagement, exchange cards, and even get a promotional picture. It was important to me to get his permission to write about the workshop, and he was very nice.
So make it the #153Promise to come back every day this week to find out what I learned about stress and your children. You’ll be surprised to know that the audience taught me a lot more than the psychologist…