Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Parents' Rules for Back to School Night

Kids off to school? Now, the next ritual of the new school year - Parent's Back to School Night.  We're down from 4 nights at 4 schools, to 3, so there's a little something to be thankful for.

As a teacher, Parent Night used to make me so nervous! It's one thing to talk to classrooms full of kids all day, but for the most part, they were harmless. Maybe someone wouldn't turn in their homework or would fall asleep or not stop talking. I could handle that. But on Back to School Night, the parents were coming and - whew - parents can be a mean bunch with some hard questions.

Now, as a parent, I try not to scare the new teachers who just got their education degree last spring and so proudly are stepping into the classroom with their newly sharpened pencils. Neither do I want to upset the more seasoned teachers who know their way around a busy-body parent.  Because really, who is going to suffer from my bad behavior? My kid. And then we've got to go to the Principal's office and nobody wants that.

I'll have a snack before I go so that I won't be cranky and take my favorite flask coffee cup so that I can pay attention.  And I'm now going over my rules so that I don't get a red card in class.  Interestingly, they are similar to the ones I hope my kids are following.

  • I will not take up class time for my personal issues.  This is not the time for private conversations with the teacher about my kid.  I should ask for an appointment to discuss any concerns later.
  • I will not be disruptive in class.  Tonight is not the time to debate whether I like the new math curriculum and explain how confused I am about decomposing numbers. But I might ask if the teacher has a cheat sheet for parents.
  • I will be on time for class.  As much as it feels like reunion time with my school parent friends, I will be sure to not be late, talking in the hallways.
  • I will do my homework.  I am collecting my PTA dues, cafeteria money, and all the other papers I was supposed to send back to school over the past week.
  • I will be nice and respectful to my classmates.  I will not roll my eyes at the parent in the first row who explains to the teacher (and us) how her child is so smart and asks what she should do while the other kids are trying to catch up with the lesson.  I will not cough while the parent in the back row explains why her child should be exempt for two weeks of school because she's going on a prestigious recorder concert.  (Note to self - pack my sunglasses, don't worry that it will be 8 o'clock at night.)
  • I will not make smaller kids cry.  Do not leave an embarrassing note about how proud I am of my kid with big frilly hearts in my kid's pencil box for them to find in front of all of their friends tomorrow.

Alright. Off to brew some coffee and then I'll be on my way.  Enjoy your back-to-school night!

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