Back to School Night is one of teachers’ most dreaded, yet insightful nights of the school year. Keep in mind that a teacher’s job is to educate our youth: the pride and joy of every mommy and daddy, and to get serious, the future voters of America. No pressure. Therefore, Back to School Night is nerve-wracking for the simple fact that the parents of 20-25 children are staring you in the face and judging you. They want to know what and how you will teach their children, and many will think they know best when it comes to their little cherub’s education. I repeat, no pressure.
Conversely, we teachers can take satisfaction in the fact that Back to School Night allows for us to do some of our own judging. We are able to make connections between our first impressions of parents and what we already know about their children, and oftentimes, there is an insightful “aha” moment. To be cliché, it is safe to say that in most instances, the apple does not fall far from the tree.
One little social butterfly in this year’s class is a prime example of this. We are only in the second week of school and the day of our Back to School Night marked the third time she missed a homework assignment. If she put as much effort into her homework as she had to explaining why she had missed her first two assignments, we would be golden! However, with her prior track record, I anticipated yet another account of why she did not have her homework, and yet again, I was not disappointed:
Little Sally: Mrs. Westmore, I don’t have my math sheet because my dog ate it. While I was doing my homework, I decided to give my dog some water, and I was holding my paper while I was putting the water bowl down, and he took it out of my hand and ripped it to pieces.
Normally, by the third missed assignment, I would call the parent, but since I knew I was going to be meeting Little Sally’s mother at Back to School Night, I decided I would speak to her in person, which later awarded me my most insightful moment of the evening.
Clad in the most leopard print I have seen since watching Snooki on Jersey Shore, there was no mistaking whose mom this lady was (just that day Little Sally had worn pink leopard print leggings). When I approached her I was surprised that she brought up the missing homework assignment first. Here is what she had to say (picture Fran Drescher speaking):
Mrs. Little Sally: Mrs. Westmore, I’ve been meaning to cawl you today. Did Little Sally tell you her dawg ate her homework? Can ya believe it? I don’t know what I’m going to do with that dawg. Anyway, I volunteered to be your class motha, so I wanted to talk to you about the Halloween party….
Oh yes, that makes total sense now.
As I reflected on my night, I thought to myself, what will the teachers of my future children say about me? What personality and behavioral traits will I pass on to my children and what will make the teachers say “aha” once they meet me? Too scary to think about!
Parents: what habits and personality traits do you think you’ve unintentionally passed on to your children?