When Parents Opt Out
As I said on this episode, I had NO IDEA opting out was even an option. One person told me kind of under her breath not to mention it to the parents and I asked WHY? Why should they not know that they had the option to opt out? I thought part of my job was to make sure ESL parents are fully aware of their options!
"Because it's illegal, first of all..." she said.
It's illegal to mention they can take their kids out of the program? Yet another thing I wish had been mentioned in my certification program. But the second reason she gave settled the matter for me. "Because they don't realize they are opting their children out of the best help they can receive."
Parents have many different reasons for wanting to pull their children out of the program. First, because they see all the classes they won't be getting, that their peer students will. Second, they see the clock ticking and they want to make sure their kid can graduate on time. But I hope my abhorrence of keeping something from parents is proof of my undying advocacy. Their time with me will be well spent, making sure that they will get what they need to fulfill their class requirements and be a part of the community of their peers well.
What this episode really highlighted is yet another hard part about being in this field. There are so many craggy rocks and hard places to get stuck in. But what I loved about my guest is that she made it sound positively easy. "Most of the time after I explain what I do for their kids, the parents say, 'Oh!'" Somehow I wonder if the time every comes for me to have this conversation with a parents who wants to pull their child from the ESL program, I worry it will not be so easy. At least now I will know what to say.
And I am having deja vu explaining what I do again and again and again... ;)