There are three primary reasons I go to the high school back-to-school night. The main one is for visual evidence of what the school personnel looks like. So, when a child starts describing their teacher as the devil I can interject that I saw neither horns, cloven hoofs nor a tail when I sat in their classroom for ten minutes.
Another reason is to get an overview of what their day is like. I want to be able to look at my watch and know at 11 o’clock my daughter is in Spanish in the classroom with a view of a courtyard that needs a mega weed and feed application. I’m sure somewhere, in all those abundant and varied school fees I paid for my child to have the privilege of attending a public school, there was a line item for landscape beautification. At the very least the Booster Club should make a trip to Lowe’s.
The other, I’ll call it, lesser reason, I go is to people watch. My first order of business is to enjoy the beauty that is the administrative staff. I know, I have mentioned before, that the principal at the high school my children attend is gorgeous and the assistant principal is just as easy on the eyes. Were they GQ models before pursing a career in education? I’m thinking probably.
You should have seen the line of moms circling these two as they held court in the underclassman locker area. I, not wanting to be that obvious, (because you know talking about it in a blog is totally covert) stood back and took it all in from across the hall.
After that I proceeded to my daughter’s first class and was given a reality check that the more things change the more they stay the same. I went to sit down and was told by two women that the seat I was lowering myself into was being “saved for a friend.” Seriously, grown women are still “saving seats”? Say hello to me time traveling back 30 years and getting told to move from the cool kids lunch table. I, having taken a pledge, administered by my daughter, to “not embarrass her at back to school night” kept my mouth shut and found another seat but I did give them an audible sigh and what I thought was an impressive eye roll.
As the evening progressed I was amused by the parents that still haven’t learned back to school night is all about sitting down, shutting up, gazing at the wonder that is the teacher’s PowerPoint and then continuing on to the next class. This is not the forum to approach the teacher and sing the praises of your “gifted” cherub or, and this maybe my favorite moment of the evening, talk to the Spanish teacher in Spanish about your muy talented “niño.” Can you say show off?
No, I take that back, that wasn’t my favorite moment. My most favorite thing about back to school night is the mixed message you receive from almost every teacher. While they’re churning through their presentation they will tell you that your child must learn to “self advocate” and be “independent.” They said self advocate so much I began to believe they were get paid by some sort of for-profit self advocate alliance to shill for them.
Now, here’s where the mixed message comes in. As you are being told to let kids fend for themselves, to grow, to embrace emerging adulthood you are also given cutting edge tools to stalk their every move. There’s Parent Vue on the school website where you can find out everything from what your kid had for lunch down to the sodium consumption (okay, that’s a very slight exaggeration) to the grade they got on a PE homework assignment. Then there’s Edmodo, which I’m almost certain was set up by a joint task force of Homeland Security, the FBI and the CIA. Here, you can creep on almost anything your kid does in class so much so it’s almost like your right there with them in Honors English minus the smell wafting in from the cafeteria.
I have no doubt by next semester they’ll have kids wearing heart rate monitors throughout the school day so from home, work, even the grocery store, we can go online and check and see if our darlings seem stressed or if their vital signs are in the normal range.
So, if I may raise my hand and ask a question to the schools out there – which is it? Do you want us to let our kids make mistakes, figure it out on their own and grow in the process or do you want us virtually in the classroom?
This mom needs an answer.
**For more Snarky check out my book Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.
Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good. Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival. If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you.
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