Monday was supposed to be the first portion of our annual Young Authors Conference. It is a great experience for students in our region. Some of our districts’ most promising writers join us for a day of writing and editing, including the chance to work with actual editors from the field.
This year marks the program’s thirtieth anniversary. This says a lot as initiatives in education can sometimes last only a few years, at most.
Of course, we always have to be prepared for things to be a little “off.”
Monday was no exception.
We ended up having a snow delay (a common occurrence in the northern suburbs of NYC). What made matters more confusing was about half the districts playing a role in the program did not have a delay.
Luckily, we did our best to let everyone know ahead of time. We had emailed out to district contacts on Sunday, and this year, we had even collected student emails ahead of time, just for this reason. Of course, we hadn’t collected every email we needed, and we weren’t able to reach all of our districts.
So, we ended up having two students show up this morning for the event.
With no one here.
Happily, our receptionist arrived as did one of our assistant superintendents. One student left right away with her grandfather. The other was dropped off by her dad, who was heading into the city. We provided the student who was left with breakfast, and after I dropped my daughter off with a neighbor I went in early.
As I got to our agency, the father arrived and he proceeded to share his frustration. While it was a tough way to start a Monday, he was entirely appropriate in his concerns, and in fairness, I would likely feel the same way as he did if our situations were reversed.
We dropped the ball, and I totally get it.
The thing about dropping the ball is if you’ve done all you can and things still don’t work out, you get it; you understand that you did what you could and that sometimes all the pieces don’t fit together. That said, I was able to express my apologies and thank him for his support of the program. I reiterated the new schedule with him, and then reached out to the student’s district to let them know that both students had shown up at our agency, and their might be some frustration expressed in their direction. The district representatives were happy to get the heads-up, and we are happy that both students will be able to attend on the rescheduled date.
We have to make sure we can meet people where they are. The best way to ease frustration is to understand that everybody sees things differently. If we do our homework and do the best prep we can, it better prepares us for those times when things don’t go our way.