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  • Tiffany Wallin

Yes, There is a Parent Handbook. No, I Don't Want to Give You One

Updated: Jan 30


From my worst nightmares!!

Roughly in 2007, I garnered a strict hatred of creating paper copies. I was working on my secondary English credential, which in the layman’s means I was trying to become a high school English teacher, at a high school in Southern California that was just down the street from where I lived with my mom. If you are a high school teacher and you’ve been among others of the same occupation, then you know the principal complaint from peers are about the students, lack of resources or about being behind on grading. My main complaint was about being trapped in the copy room. The morning would always begin with the task of creating what was roughly forty copies of four or five worksheets, handouts, and homework assignments. The resulting piles of what somehow felt like millions of paper copies would then have to be lugged in my arms all the way from the copy room to my desk.


I did this every single day, and it took all morning. This was because my master teachers insisted that every copy be double sided and also because they came up in the “pre-Cloud” era of education which is like saying someone got their credential during the Jurassic period. All they knew was copies and the hot-ink stench of the room where those copies were made. On top of that, there are those complaints that I mentioned. The complaints about the students who hated having to fill out those copies (did you fill out a TPS report?) and hand them back in each and every class, every single day. The complaints about the lack of resources. (Hmm, what could be behind our severe paper and ink shortage as well as our frightening lack of money?) The complaints about being behind on grading. Well, when you have to read sheet after sheet after sheet, the pacing of your red pen slows down no matter how late you stay up on a Sunday night to get it all done by the deadline.


In response I have since gained a healthy, undeniable love for all things digital and a passionate hatred for paper. If someone hands me a paper pamphlet or a brochure, I have to suppress a groan. So you can imagine the ire that boiled up inside of me when I started searching for a preschool that would enroll my daughter.


The standard procedure in a daycare orientation is for the parent and child to receive a tour of the room and then hand out all accompanying documentation that will need to be read/filled out once the child starts receiving care. At every location I visited, a tour was had and mounds of paperwork was received. This included a price sheet, proof of vaccination request and, yes, a handbook.


The Handbook amounts to a set of rules, regulations and policies for the daycare facility. Don’t get me wrong, they are necessary. If you don’t have a lice policy, then your kids will get lice. If you don’t have a dress policy, then your kids will show up in inappropriate clothing that will be ruined by the time parents come for pick up. If you don’t have an illness policy, pink eye will run rampant through your facility. And let’s not get started on late arrival and late pick up, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!! So the Handbook is necessary. But can the same be said for the paper upon which it is printed? This is a question I am more than willing to experiment with.


I founded New Bees with the goal of doing things differently. One thing I want to do differently is have an ungodly lack of paper copies laying around my facility. I don’t want myself or my staff to have a go-to print out as an answer to everything. I want my parents to engage with me and my teachers about their children without having to constantly refer to a page or a clause or a list like we are negotiating a sale or a mortgage. Policy and rules are the standard line of defense for any teacher. You want your barriers in place for the highly likely event that a parent strongly (and I mean angrily) disagrees with your methods. But to do it differently means that if we commit our policies to paper, then we are basically saying that we are not willing to make changes. And that is what New Bees is all about: to make changes. As the owner and director of this facility, I have to be the one that says, “sometimes I don’t always know what I’m doing. That means I may have to make changes.” To make changes, I cannot commit the life of my center to paper without ever considering the possibility that I will need to make revisions.


So is there a handbook? Yes. Is it on paper? No.


However you can click the link to download a copy for review.


The New Bees Handbook


Thanks y’all,


Tiff


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