It’s that time of the year again. Back to School Night. How many of you go? And those of you that don’t. You’re probably the smart ones. I mean, what can a teacher really tell you in ten minutes? It’s kind of like conferences. They are completely worthless. If your child is doing well, the school doesn’t recommend you come in for a conference. Who needs to take up time telling Mommy that little Johnny is an A student, right? But if your child is having trouble a ten minute conference isn’t enough time to discuss the problem and figure out a solution. Oh, we weren’t supposed to figure out a solution? It was just a ten minute vent session (usually for the teacher.) “Why does your son drop his apple sauce on the floor?” Yes, I had a first grade teacher ask me that about Noodge 1.
But back to Back to School Night. The main reason I go is because the teachers give themselves away during their presentation. I can put money down on what kind of teacher my kid is going to have. (Let’s just say because you’re a teacher and stand in front of group and talk all day doesn’t make you Robert DeNiro or Meryl Streep. You get me?)
Some teachers you can tell right away are going to be fantastic. They say things like, “I love what I do. I can’t believe how lucky I am to teach Social Studies.” They have creative ideas on how to present material. They tell you they have extra hours for tutorial (high school level) or they pushed their principal to allow something new that particular year. Their energy is high, their cheeks are rosy, and their aura is glowing.
Then we have the others. Noodge 2’s first grade teacher on Back to School Night: “If you have a daughter and she has long hair you should pull it back because hair is distracting.” From the woman who has no children. And she made sure to let everyone know she hated messes. Can you guess what kind of a year that was?
Or the teacher who insisted the folders matched the notebooks because she color coordinated her clothing to her hangers. She also wanted us to provide her with tennis balls because she didn’t like the noise the chairs made when pushed back from the desks. (Tennis balls cut in half and placed under the legs stops that noise in case you’re wondering.) All that information was revealed on Back to School Night. This teacher said to me on the day before spring break: “Enjoy your spring break…oh wait…you won’t. You’ll have your kids.” Yes, she really said that. I knew on BTSN she was going to be a pill.
Another reason I go is because I want my kids to know I care about their school experience. It’s another opportunity to show them I’m involved, I’m present. It’s why I chaperoned when I could, volunteered for class mother, school library, and Girl Scout troop leader. It’s why the Coffee King coached years of Little League and Rec basketball. And sadly, my BTS nights are winding down. They will get tucked away in the memory file for pulling out when I want to visit them. BTSN allows me to hang on to their childhood for just one more night.
No, you aren’t going to learn a whole lot about the class in those silly ten minutes. It’s not a time to question the teacher about your child’s progress. Our high school is so large I’m not even entirely sure the teacher realized my kid is the class this early in the year, but I won’t miss it because in fewer years than I like to think about my babies won’t have a BTSN. Their public school education will be a thing of the past. I hope they will remember how I went when I could’ve done so many other things and they will think about it with a warm feeling knowing their mom loved them.
BTSN is worth it to me.