Monday, January 15, 2007


I fear I am turning into a GOW (grumpy old woman),' not at all' you think, 'why you're young, smart and funny' I hear you say, well in my dreams I do. The reality is that I am a GOW and todays gripe is as follows.

Why do parents request a drama class they would like their child to attend and then, when you have facilitated their choice do they change their mind and ask you to move their child despite the fact that the classes have been selected and the rotas completed.

Let me give you the background to this. I am secretary on the Parents Association (PA) at the school Mollie and Ben attend. The PA, amongst other things, organises all the after school activities. Primary schools finish early in Ireland and do not offer after school activities so PA's take on this job. Our PA is very active and offers a range of activities for the pupils including football, basketball, hockey, drama, gymnastics, Spanish, yoga, swimming and cricket. The parents are given a form to select which activities and times they would like for their children. We open these 180+ forms, check the money and input the data into a computer. We then check on class size and do our best to facilitate everyone. Sometimes in drama we ask parents to move their child as some classes are too big. Then we make a parental duty rota. All this was done on Friday and Saturday and Vivienne and myself (we are in charge of drama) were happy with the way drama panned out as the times and days had been changed.

Then the phone calls start. All from people who were given their day and time of choice. These children (aged 11 and 12) wanted to change to be with their friends. These children are old enough to ask their friends what group they are putting themselves down for before they fill out the form. Three of Mollie's friends asked her which times she was going for so they could ask for the same times. Surely if Mollie and her friends who are two years younger can organise themselves so can these 12 year olds. Evidently not. But the PA is united, the groups have been allocated, the rotas made up and no changes will be facilitated. Maybe you think we are being GOW and GOM (grumpy old men, yes there are men on the PA), but if we let two children move we have to let them all move and that really would mess things up.

The moral of this is check with your friends before you select your group and then I won't be a GOW.


ChrisB said...

Good for you. It's a lot of hard work for all you volunteers so I think you are right to stand your ground. You know what kids are like, if you had changed them they would probably fall out and would have wanted to be moved again in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

God, if you let that happen, it would be a class musical chair. Let those kids learn to be smarter next time.

And, would it kill them to make new friends?

sallywrites said...

You miserable so and so Beccy!!!!!!

I run a drama school for my job. Come on!!!! It's supposed to be for fun!!!! Could you not just make an exeption? They are kids. They forget!

Funny blog though! I liked it!


Beccy said...

Sally I agree it's meant to be fun but I spend on average 10 hours a week sorting stuff out for the PA and we gave them the slots they wanted. If we move all of them there is an empty slot so we let the drama teacher down. And employing her is a whole new story. I don't see why a 12 year old and their parents couldn't choose the slot they wanted! I genuinely believe that if we make an exception for one then we have to make an exception for all and with over 80 children that could be alot of exceptions. We also try to keep the numbers in the classes small. There were lots of complaints last year when we had up to 30 children in a class, and the majority of the children had very small parts in the plays. We spent a lot of time and effort halving the size of the classes only to be congratulated for it in September and reviled for it now. To top it all this is from people who have been on the committee and in my opinion should know better.

As it happens we have decided to move all the older children (we may get some complaints as not all of them may want to be moved) and then move another bunch of children into the empty slot to keep the teacher in paid employment, again this may not suit those children so I now have to expect another barrage of phonecalls from people who can be quite rude. In trying to please some I except we have displeased others and I personally think we should have stuck with the classes the people originally choose. You can never please everybody and shouldn't tear yourself apart trying to do so, especially when it is voluntary.

I'd also like to point out that these classes cost €30 (about £20) for 16 weeks. We are not professionals, we are not making money, we are not charging a lot of money, we have a fantastic drama teacher BUT we can not move mountains, these children chose those classes and I think it is damned cheeky of parents to ring up looking to be moved.

I could go on and on boring you with the intricasies of our PA and drama dilemas but I'll stop now. The kids may forget but I won't forget the demands and rudeness of some of those parents I spoke to, who then complained to others and caused sleepness nights and tears.
I would just like to stress we do it voluntarily and have to look after the interests of all 220 children in the school not just those who don't bother to fill out their forms correctly.

Asha said...

Hello GOW!!:) I think not!You are great!Put your foot down and don't regret!

sallywrites said...

Oh sorry Beccy!1 i didn't mean to offend you. I was just having a little tease.

You obviously do a wonderful job, and quite frankly they should be VERY grateful to you.

I think that splitting them up by age is a good thing. It solves the age problem too. Best not to give tehm any choice and that way they can take it or leave it. FI it's how we do it at Stagecoach too.

SORRY!!! You are really doing a great job. I know that!!


sallywrites said...

p.s. Meant to say - it solves the friendship group problems............


Beccy said...

I wasn't offended Sally, I just wanted to make the point that it's not as easy as moving a couple of people it changes the whole dynamic.

Anyway we've moved people around most people seem happy and one parent even rang to thank us, she also feels the children should thank us in some way for facilitating them. It's nice to be appreciated.

sallywrites said...

Oh well done you!! And how nice to be appreciated.

You are good doing all that voluntarily. It is a lot of work.


sallywrites said...

p.s. And I am SO glad that I didn't offend you!!


Beccy said...

Actually Sally I think it did me good to get it off my chest and I wasn't having a go at you just trying to explain the situation.

Some of the parents seem to think the PA should revolve around their little darlings while the majority are very appreciative and helpful.

I'm half way through a three year tenure, roll on October 2008!