Thursday, September 14, 2006

Back to School Night: Parents vs Teachers

This is not what you think. I will not explore the nature of parents vs. teachers on Back to School night in the traditional sense. Rather, my focus is on BEING a parent and a teacher on Back to School Night..

Since it's introduction a few short years ago, I have been a major proponent of Back to School Night. As an educator and a parent I see the definite benefits of building relationships between parents and teachers. Not only is this beneficial to the aformentioned, but also to the kids themselves who, depending on their age show their pleasure in either having their parents sit in their seats and leave them sweet notes to be read the following day (obviously the young ones) or having their parents run around a building the size of the Pentagon without a clue of where thery're going or where they've been (obviously the older ones.) The interesting part of this for me is that I get to experience this from both sides of the desk.

As a teacher, I become nervously excited about the prospect of meeting my students' parents. I am always amazed by the strength of gene pools as most of the time the faces of the parents match the faces of my students. It is like leaping forward in time around 25 years. Sometimes parents even sit in or near the seats of their children. Is it because they feel their aura...or because they used to sit alphabetically, too, and have chosen their seat out of comfort or force of habit? (Sounds like a potential science experiment to me!) The one sad part about being on this end is seeing how many of the kids whose parents really need to be present, aren't. There is a huge disparity between the Honors parents' participation and all other classes. I know the importance of parental participation. It screams loudly here. In any case, my experiences behind the desk have always been good ones. A little levity, a little biography, the syllabus and those 10 minutes fly faster than the Space Shuttle.

As a parent, I become nervously excited in a different way. I love to sit in my kids' classrooms, walk in the hallways, meet the teachers, and get the feel for where they spend 7 hours a day. I know that the teachers have been at school all day and are not up to having a personal conference with me about my darlings. That's ok. Just hearing their words of reassurance (most have taught that age group before and are the experts!), sensing the nurturing environment that they have constructed, and understanding the routine that has been provided for my two love bugs is enough.

I hope the parents that come to my classroom feel the same way...I guess I'll never know. That's ok, too. "No news is good news" in a world of "ignorance is bliss."

To my kids' teachers...Thanks for all you do. And Back to School Night, too!


Two Happy Dogs

I once heard that 1 is 1 and 2 is 10 when referring to having children. Does this apply to dogs as well? No doubt there have been double the feedings, double the leashes, double the rawhide chew flips and, unfortunately, double the poos, but it has also been much more than double the fun. Steve and I have always wanted two and now we understand what our instincts were telling us all along. Somehow once Cameron let Blue into his life (we knew she would win him over as she did the rest of us), the atmosphere of the house, the backyard and the car for that matter became exponentially more exciting for all of us. While I'm sure that "two big dogs" (to coin a phrase from Gregg Russell) aren't for everyone, there is no doubt that they ARE for us! (And the fact that they are probably does drive our parents absolutely crazy.)