Last night was Parent’s Night at the middle school. I had been battling a migraine for two days so I wasn’t looking forward to going.
Honestly, I wouldn’t look forward to going even if I didn’t have a migraine. I’m just not that type of parent. I always go. But I’m never happy about being there.
This year the school decided the parents should follow their kid’s schedule and attend each class for 10 minutes. Each teacher was to give a quick run down of what was expected in her class, then the bell would ring, and we would move onto the next class.
Homeroom/Honors Math was first up. I went in and warmly greeted the teacher. Good manners were prevailing even if I didn’t want to be there. She, on the other hand, was not so warm, but I got it. She didn’t want to be there either.
I took a seat in the front although every ounce of my being was telling me to head to the back row. The bell rang, the principal welcomed us over the intercom, and then we got started.
The teacher was all businesslike and serious. And I quickly could see why Grey had decided that math class was going to be his least favorite this year, even though math itself was his favorite subject.
Within ten minutes I was already getting antsy. Can we go yet? Isn’t it time to go??? Hello!!!! Please let us go…
How do kids sit in those hard desks all day without squirming? And listen to a boring lecture?
Don’t get me wrong. The math teacher wasn’t boring. What she was saying wasn’t boring. It was useful information and something I needed to hear. But my brain wasn’t buying into it. It wanted more stimulation or something more interesting to listen to.
And in that moment I realized I was the typical 7th grader, sitting quietly but distracted and bored out of my mind.
The bell rang, releasing us from the purgatory of math class.
I trudged all over the school following Grey’s schedule. From the bottom floor, up dark staircases, to the lunch room where gym class was being held for parent’s night, to the 3rd floor, and finally back down to the bottom level once more.
All in all I’m glad I went. I got to see and feel a little bit of what Grey does during his day. Some things I found to be interesting while others were down right frustrating.
And of course, I’m going to share my thoughts on them all. Just in case you were fortunate enough to miss out.
What I learned at Parent Night
1. 35 desks are crammed into each classroom and I do mean crammed. I felt like my neighbors were encroaching on my space and I didn’t like it one bit.
I wanted to tell the guy behind me to stop breathing so heavy on my neck. Where was my personal space??? And why was he in it? Oh yeah, because the desks were so close together!
2. School starts at 8:30 a.m. and Grey eats lunch at 10:30 a.m.
While I was in Grey’s P.E. class (lunch room) listening to the coaches speak, I started counting seats and tables. Each table in the cafeteria seats 10 people and there were at least 30 tables so 300 kids are eating at one time.
Can you imagine the noise?
And guess what?
They have 25 minutes to eat. I can now understand why the boys want to take their lunch. Even if the cafeteria food was amazing, they wouldn’t have time to stand in line, get their food, and eat it, too.
3. An announcement from one of his teachers:
“Since we didn’t finish the standardized testing last year, I have no idea how your kids perform. Some of them may need to be moved out to a different class.”
Yes, you do.
I’ll give you a hint. You have a report card from last year which tells you how our kids did.
And that should be enough.
4. 2nd period:
“Our classes can have 35 students in them and I only have 35 books for ALL of the classes I teach. If you’re child needs a text book for homework, then he will have to check it out from me and have it returned by 8:00 a.m. the next morning or he’ll get a demerit.”
A two year, sixty million dollar contract was recently signed for standardized testing in the state of Tennessee.
Sixty million dollars for standardized testing, yet we don’t have enough books for our kids to carry home with them.
Some classes have books on line, but have you ever tried to use them? In years past I have and it most of the time it was impossible to find what we were looking for. One teacher did mention she was going to give them an inservice on how to use the online book. Sounds like class time well spent.
5. Grey’s in health class. Who knew? Seriously, I had no idea. He was in it last year. Studying the same things. Ebola, smoking, drugs. Guess it beats chorus class though.
6. Loved the science teacher.
“I don’t test for the sake of testing. I’m required to give a certain number of tests throughout the year, but that’s it. Honors students get bored easily when assigned reading so I don’t do much of that either. Anyway, our science books are 8 years old and a lot of the information is out of date at this point. It’s all hands on in this class.”
Parent: “Will the tests be from your lectures?”
“Lectures? Hmm, I don’t do much lecturing. Really, it’s all hands on in here. They’ll be doing things….”
My kid will absolutely love that, but some parents were coming unglued. Structure. Some parents need structure…and maybe a glass of wine. Chill people. It will be okay.
“If your honors kids don’t learn anything else in my class, they’ll learn how to unwind because I don’t do structure.”
Which is excellent because my kid doesn’t do structure either!
And eight year old science books? 60 MILLION DOLLAR contract. Need I say more?
7. 70 minutes into Parent’s Night and sixth period finally rolled around. For Grey, it was ELA or what we knew as English.
“The county requires 7th graders to read 4 different novels during this school year. We have to divide the novels up among the different teachers and classes and so we don’t have enough for everyone.”
Ugh. Here we go again.
Have I mentioned this is a very sought after school district? And if our school doesn’t have what we need, then do other schools have it?
8. Most classes don’t give homework, but during the first week of school Grey was assigned 3 projects….which made me have homework. If you are a parent, then you know how it is.
9. During our 75 minute+ Parent Night I finally realized Grey does take after me. I always questioned why we had to do the busy work if we knew what we were doing already. I was always restless and impatient in class even though I loved learning and I think he’s the same way. Sorry buddy. You’ll survive, but you’ll probably drive your teachers crazy.
10. The final dismissal bell rang and I was the first one out the door. No kidding. I couldn’t leave quick enough.