Trust has been a heavy topic on my mind for over two years now. My trust in the education system as a whole went diving out of the window on September 19th, 2019 and since then there has been a highway collision of trust breaking events. To be fair, there have also been some trust building events.
Let’s back up a bit.
I have had incidents occur that brought out the reality – teachers and principals are human. Even as parents we make mistakes with our children. We look back and wish we handled things differently. School staff make mistakes too. Harm was certainly not intended, but that is exactly what happened. It sucks when they make a mistake and it double sucks when their mistake impacts and harms your child. However, in the past I was always met with integrity, honesty and genuine care. How the education staff handled some pretty big “incidents” shall we call them, built my trust in the system. Shit happens, it’s not intended, and now we are going to fix it and make it right. They helped the healing process, for all.
How does your trust in the education system as a whole dictate your decisions regarding your child’s education? How you engage? Or not? How do you cope when you don’t trust the people in it?
I have to say, there are some amazing teachers my children have been connected to. My children have had teachers who care, who go beyond their job descriptions, who connect, who inspire, and who in my mind…they were made for this profession. Everywhere you go, in education too, there is a patchwork of people full of passion, skill, knowledge, and unfortunately some who don’t know any better or just don’t give a fuck and have lost their way.
You don’t know who you are going to get, until you’ve gotten them.
Do you trust your child’s school?
Do you trust the school district and the administrative staff?
If you have a disabled child, trust in the education system is a sensitive topic. They system isn’t set up to build a trusting relationship. As parents of disabled children, we proceed with a high level of caution. Everyone else is diving into the ocean for a swim and we are sticking our baby toe in and waiting 6 hours to see what happens. It’s called experience.
It’s a balancing act. Sometimes you need to be so far up their ass, you know what they ate for lunch.
Other times, you can let yourself breath knowing that whatever happens, they have your child’s back.
Trusting “the system” or authority runs deep. Depending on our culture, history, sexual orientation, gender, disability, etc our trust levels are going to vary.
One of my take away learnings from a degree in human relations, is just how essential trust is to every human interaction. We filter our trust levels through every decision we make and every decision we choose not to make. Trust is the glue that connects us or disconnects us.
Some parents will comment that it concerns them how trusting their children are. “They will go with anyone…” Parents who have witnessed their children traumatized by a broken system, will feel crushed by how fast their kid grew up and how the innocence of childhood was stolen from them. “They are so cautious around other people now, and don’t trust anyone”.
For all the days our children, pieces of our heart, leave our homes and enter schools…. we hope, we trust, that they will be ok. And when they are not and harm has occurred…it’s heartbreaking.
It takes a lot of time and effort to build trust, and it takes a moment to destroy it.
How do we risk trusting again? Children are no different. Do our children trust their school and the people in it? They need to heal. Will they risk trusting again? Or have they just learnt a valuable life lesson? Don’t trust anyone.
As staff administration enter district offices and school buildings in the morning…
As they drink their coffee and turn on their computers…
As they review their agenda and mentally prepare for their upcoming meetings for that day…
As teachers open their windows and gather their photocopies…
They are asking us…do you trust me?