The tables are being cleared, the chairs stacked away and lights turned off as parents and teachers gradually exit the hall following another night of parent-teacher-interviews. Once again, I leave with mixed feelings. Thankful that it’s over after what sometimes feels like a weird, exhausting version of speed-dating (10 min per family – make it count!), but more than this, I leave feeling honoured by the exchange between mums, dads, and their children’s teachers. In just 10 minutes of conversation, I gain so much insight into the lives of my students, what challenges they may be facing at home, in the playground or elsewhere in life. Parents entrust me with their concerns for their child, be it social or academic, and I get to partner with them in this journey for 10 months or so each year.

You probably know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” but it may not be something you observe much in your daily routines. However, PTI nights feel like one of the clearest demonstrations of this; a ‘village’ of parents, teachers and students together in one place, for the united purpose of raising humans. It’s hard for me to pinpoint it exactly, but there’s something about these nights that remind me of the value of each student in my care. Maybe it’s the way that parents hear something new about their child for the first time that brings a smile to their face, or a trusted disclosure of family challenges. Whatever the exchange, it never ceases to amaze me how privileged I am to be included in the lives of these families and walk the journey with them.

Occasionally I need to have a ‘hard chat’ about certain behaviours or social situations that pop up at school, but these moments are just as important as the positive ones. It’s hard to be honest about your kids sometimes, and even more so, to hear honest truths in return. But what kind of meeting would it be if nothing more than social pleasantries were exchanged? There’s wisdom in the proverb – ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’ (Proverbs 27:17) The same could be said for teachers and parents. Questions, insights, commitments, and praise; these are the markers of a robust conversation between both parties that will surely benefit the child in focus.

Simply put, let’s get serious about the business of raising humans well and not avoid the tricky topics just because they’re tricky. This is where the real fruit is grown, and together we can appreciate that growth at the end of the year, knowing that the ‘village’ of a Christian school really does add value to the child in a way nothing else can.

Mr John Lucas / Stage 2 Discipline and Welfare Leader