Friday, September 19, 2008

Back to School Night

Last night was the back to school night for Sarah's Elementary school. As an educator, I tend to see these types of events from a different perspective than a lot of my fellow parents. I always get a kick out of the "dog and pony show" that it usually is. For me there is rarely any new information disseminated that is earth shattering, but it is almost always informative.

Since I did not get a chance to attend the pre-school open house, this would have been my first meeting with the teacher. My Dad watched the older girls (bless him) and I decided to take Emma with me (see earlier post regarding supply issues). She decided to sleep through the Principal's presentation as well as the introduction of all the teachers and the PTA. Not the most exciting part of the night. If I could have gotten away with sleeping through it, I would have too!

After commiserating with another new mother about lack of sleep, I headed down to the classroom. Emma was happily sitting on my lap until about half way through the teacher's presentation. She started to fuss and the pacifier wasn't helping too much. I spent the last 10 minutes hiding in the coatroom trying to listen but not disturb too much. I eventually had to head into the hallway, but managed to get the gist of everything. I like the fact that Sarah has a young teacher who is enthusiastic about teaching. They spend a great deal of time on reading and math, but unfortunately only 30 minutes a day to devote to either science or social studies.

During the question and answer portion of his talk, the teacher was questioned about parent volunteers. The culture at the school is that parents sign up to volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis (every Monday morning for math groups, etc). It always made me feel guilty since I couldn't commit to a schedule like that. Well, this particular teacher did not put out a request for volunteers, nor did he have a sign-up sheet out at the open house or back to school night. Many of the SAHM's were expressing their concern and listing all the help they gave previous teachers. Even from the coatroom, I could sense the teacher's frustration. He is one of those teachers that likes to have his stuff together, he gets to school two hours early to make sure he has everything worked out. Sometimes it is easier to do things yourself than to explain it and put it in other's hands. Plus, I get the feeling he realizes that these parents aren't necessarily volunteering out of the goodness of their hearts. By being in the classroom they have the inside scoop on what is going on with their child as well as everyone else's. As I listened to the discussion, I couldn't help but laugh inside. Some of these parents need to have such control over what goes on in their kid's lives, it just makes me sick. I often just want to shake them and say, "let the teachers do their job"!!

My level of respect for this teacher totally jumped a notch or two.

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