Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Back to School Night

Tonight was our school's Back to School Night. It was a disappointing turnout. And not just in my classroom. I don't know why. Weather was fine. We sent home plenty of notes and reminders. It was on the calendar. Last year I had 21 out of 25 parents show up (that's 84%). This year, it was 11 out of 19 (58%).

If I were a parent, I can't imagine the situation that would keep me from seeing my child's classroom, meeting his teacher, hearing about his daily schedule, looking through his desk to see his books and papers. But that's just me. Apparently the parents in our school have another (more important) agenda. Principal was upset about the low turnout. She said she's going to spend the rest of the week personally calling all of the parents who missed tonight's meeting. Awesome.

I tried something new this year, at the suggestion of Miss W (2nd grade). I gave each parent an index card when they came in, and before they left, I asked them to write something about their child that they want me to know. Interests, hobbies, worries, etc. I only got 4 back (honestly, what IS it with these parents?!), but they were quite cute. Here they are, in their original form:

M loves wrestling sometimes he may get too exciting talking about it

J needs extra help with Alphabets and he is also very interested in video games and dinosaurse.

C may be very stubborn about doing actual work this year, she thinks it's going to be like kindergarden still

V like to do alot of homework. She knows alot already because I teach her at home and she knows about computer and she loves music. (This parent actually asked if I could send more homework for her daughter, because she loves doing it. I simply *heart* this student and her mom!)

I think I'll try this again next year at Back to School Night, but with a pre-printed fill-in-the-blank form. Maybe that'll be less intimidating.

I'm hoping that the low turnout isn't an indication of things to come with this class. We shall see.


Nancy said...

I hope it's OK for me to comment on this. I'm a mom of two Catholic school students (K and 2nd Grade)and I wasn't able to attend my children's recent Back to School Night. I felt really terrible about it, but it was impossible to go. The situation was that the school doesn't allow parents to bring children (understandably), my husband was out of town, my baby-sitter had a religious meeting, and my sister, who had promised to watch the kids got sick at the last minute. In addition to being sorry about not getting to meet the 2nd Grade teacher I worried (and you've confirmed that I was right to do so) that my child would be judged as coming from a family who didn't care enough to come. By the way, I can think of a number of reasons that a concerned parent wouldn't be able to make a Back to School Night (sick children, night shift work, single parent with noone to watch the kids, etc.)

You seem like a great teacher and one I'd love for my kids to have (and I'm jealous of your small class size--my children are in classes of 39 and 41 students each!), but I just wanted to point out that teachers and schools can be prone to pass judgement on parent's level of commitment without knowing all of the facts.

Julie said...

I also couldn't attend my 5th grader's school open house evening. However, our school's web site has links to send teachers and staff an e-mail, so I sent one to my son's teacher to let him know we were unable to attend and why. I know the open houses, parent/teacher conferences, etc. are a lot of work for the teachers, so taking a few minutes to send an e-mail, write a note or make a phone call, even if after the event, would likely be appreciated by the teacher.