One of the main complaints I hear from SLPs and teachers working with preschool populations in schools, homes, and daycares, is that parents/ caregivers do not “follow through”.  Whether this means the unread session note is found the next week, folded and forgotten, at the bottom of a child’s backpack; or whether an SLP doubts the parents have implemented any of the helpful strategies she recommends for home use, we can be pretty critical of others we feel are letting down our collaborative model. 

I went to Day One of a 3-day-long training today, which was scheduled from 8:30am till 5:00pm, 8.5 solid hours of content, knowledge, information, demonstrations, and active attention.  I started fading after lunch and developed a migraine around 4:10pm.  Before all this learning was to transpire, we all had to show up.  Of the 12 who eventually arrived, only 3 of us were there by the stroke of 8:30.  Others trickled in, some apologetic, many not, until 9:35.  All were from out of town, most were staying in nearby hotels.  The nasty weather was certainly a factor, as were unfamliar traffic patterns, but an hour late?  Holding up the content for those of us who managed to figure out weather, traffic, parking, and showing up on time?  Thanks for nothing. 

Though I had been to the building before, the other 11 had not.  As we took one of our quick breaks, we were in the washroom (The instructor is Canadian, so we have to use her word), and many ladies lamented how their GPS had failed them in driving here, or how the GPS had said it would only take 15 minutes from the hotel, or how the GPS had them circling the parking lot, or how they really had no excuse whatsoever.  “Can’t the building have a number on it?” they bitched. “I didn’t even know what floor it was on!” “Can’t there be directions given for GPS users?”  “I circled the parking lot!”

I recalled that we had had to print out some materials in preparation for the workshop.  We were sent an e-mail a few weeks ago, with a link to some reading and a homework assignment, and, I could almost swear, information about how to get to the building.  I just knew it.  I mentioned this to my colleagues, “Um, I think there was a map.  I’m almost sure of it.  It had directions and suggestions for hotels.”  I didn’t really read it because I knew where I was going, but surely they had.  Being, you know, from Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Ontario.  Sure enough, as I returned to the conference room, I found the sheet of paper with a colorful map on top of explicit driving directions and one sentence below the map telling specifically how to spot the building.  Telling that we were to meet on the 2nd floor of the only 9 storey building around, the one in the smack-dab middle of a parking lot.  Near the mall.  Which they mentioned.  On the print-out. 

But then again, if you aren’t going to read the hand-outs, print-outs, or do the homework, you’re no better than the irresponsible parents you’re always criticizing.  I almost pointed out this “teachable moment”, but I thought any more profound content might make our overworked brains explode.