Facilitation – History Pt. 6: Back to the Basics (Part 35)

Categories: Léo’s Insights 2023-2024, Back to the Basics

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Many years ago, when I first started facilitating professionally, which means when I started getting paid for facilitating after years of pro bono service to our local school division, my wife and I were assigned a family in Viking, Alberta.  When we arrived, we found a lady so nervous her hands were shaking and her complexion was very pale.  At first I thought she was being abused by someone, but only she and the children were home.  I then began to think she had just finished a very serious phone call or had just left some kind of confrontational meeting.

In spite of her obvious nervousness, I proceeded to ask her questions regarding her home education program and chit chatted with the children.  My wife and I did everything to assure the mother she was doing a good job.  After a while, the mother settled down and she felt comfortable enough to offer some tea and cookies.  We continued to talk about family, children and living outside the standard world as home educators.  As we were about to leave, we learned what the problem was at our arrival when the mother asked if that was all there was to our facilitation visit.

When we asked her what she meant, she nearly broke down in tears.  She was initially deathly afraid of our visit because of the negative experience she had had with her previous school supervisor.  We were baffled by her account of having had to personally do a spelling test to prove to her supervisor that she was educated enough to educate her own children.  The story went on to detail the abuse she experienced from this overbearing, self-righteous representative of the government and the school.  By the time we left, not only were we encouraged by having helped this mother, but the lady who initially greeted us with deep reservation insisted on giving us each a hug on the way out.

Followup visits were really good as we continued to encourage this lady with the understanding that she was doing a great job and that she, of all people, was the most qualified teacher possible, the one called mom.

I share this story with you to help you gauge if you have the best possible facilitator.  As he/she leaves, do you hug your facilitator or do you celebrate the departure?  A facilitator should be seen as a friend, not someone you dread.

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