Over the last few weeks I’ve written a number of posts about parents as customers.
So it was great to a very extensive response from Mothersoup
All too often in education the dialogue takes place between the professionals and those whom we serve only play a peripheral role in shaping the future.
MS’s post is well worth read but here are some extracts (I’ve added the bold):
1. Good customer service is genuine – less “false sycophantic grovelling” and more Unconditional Positive Regard. My experience of UPR comes via the work of Carl Rogers who also stressed the value of empathy: making the effort to consider the situation from the other’s point of view. From my point of view this might involve the schools and teachers looking at situations and asking “How might this make parents feel?
2. Someone mentioned the line “The customer is always right”, which does seem to emphasise the image of kow-towing to unreasonable behaviour. Instead, I’d proffer “The customer’s perception is always valid” – which encourages looking from the customer’s point of view.
3. As a customer, I often have to be managed in order to be served. I’d be happy to have the opportunity to be more managed as a schoolparent – there are times when it would be a great help. I don’t want more power over the teachers (or for them to have more power over me) – a relationship built on power tends to be a relationship in trouble.
I don’t believe any teacher or headteacher would ever think of using the phrase “managing our parents” but I know exactly what she means.