Turnover

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

July 4, 2011

The new priest changed the wording from “their” (think other) to “our” (think inclusive) on the prayers of the faithful. He has asked for listening sessions in the following weeks. He has suggested things will change, but I’ve interpreted in a guided way utilizing group wisdom for the betterment of the group. Yes, folks, we have a new priest.

Levi also has a new preschool teacher. His lead teacher was let go. I suspected change would happen at some point, life never remains stagnant, but I didn’t know when or how.

We received a note in our parent mail boxes with his daily activity report.

“Beginning now, Ms. Y will be the lead teacher through the summer. Ms. Y will be accompanied by Ms. W who assisted while Ms. X was on vacation. If you have any questions, please ask the Director or myself. Signed Owner.”

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Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I was worried, previously, about turnover with teachers. I do not want my son to go to a school where the teachers are quitting every few months. I haven’t figured out a delicate way to ask this question, as direct seems too up front (but perhaps it is the best way). Personally, I know I wouldn’t have the patience, day in day out, to teach preschoolers. I love mine, but my brain needs a different kind of stimulus. I’ve worked several jobs in my twenties. Turn over happens. So, the questions that need to be asked or realized are:

  1. What is the turnover rate? This is an indicator of internal working relationships. If the staff turns over a lot, then they aren’t happy. Why aren’t they happy? Common factors include unreasonable bosses, low pay, no benefits. I want the people who care for my kiddo during the day to be taken care of. This is why we’re paying the money we are paying.
  2. How do they deal with turnover when it does happen?

The latter question has multiple answers, and I doubt there’s a right one. The latter question begs on, first, why the former question happened. Did the teacher quit? Did she find a new job? Was there a family emergency? Was she let go? I want my child to feel supported during the day. It’s well documented that children require routines. Changing their teachers changes the routine and unproductive drama could ensue. How do they navigate that water?

Given how the events are laid out, I suspect that this decision was planned for some time. First, it was done during the summer, or the off season. Second, it followed closely after Ms. X’s vacation. Third, the assistant teacher is the teacher used while Ms. X was on vacation. So, to the children, it’s a simple swap. I don’t know what was said to the children, if anything. Levi referenced Ms. X tonight after our we saw fireworks. I’m not sure where that even came from.

Change is constant. Regardless of this one event, Levi has still had a more constant life than I did at his age. He has two parents that are still married and have lived in the same house his entire life. He has been to two schools, but most of his life has been spent with one or both parents home. And, now we have a new priest at our church who is signed up for twelve years. If we stay in Portland, this priest would see Levi all through high school. That’s a welcome change.

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