Monday, October 10, 2011

Back to School Night or an Olympic Event?

Last week I finished up the third of my back to school nights for my children. I have to admit – I always dread going. Call me cranky, but after dinner, all I want to do is just sink into the couch and relax. Instead, I rallied myself together and headed out. Let the games begin!

Olympic Event #1 - Chair Wrangling: The first Back to School Night I attended was for my Kindergartener. It started out fine, the principal gave a short presentation, and then we headed off to our son’s classroom. The teacher asked us all to take a seat. I scanned the room, but all I saw were itty bitty five year old sized chairs. The panic of the first event starts to set in.  I don’t know what’s worse - trying to sit in them, or getting back up. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about it, as I spot a grown-up size chair in the corner and quickly grab it before anyone else. Sorry other parents – you snooze, you lose. Gold.

Olympic Event #2 – Office Sprint: A few days later, it was time to go to my daughter’s school. She is in 5th grade, which is in a different building – they call it “Upper Elementary.” The concept is good. All the kids are on teams. They have lockers and move around between subjects and classrooms between three teachers on the team, but stay with the same group of kids. Plus the rooms are all close together, so they are not running all over to get to class (see Olympic Event #3). It is supposed to get them ready for middle school, while offering an elementary school feel. For Back to School Night to be successful, you need to know your child’s schedule, so you can go through a ‘day in the life of...’ Apparently, your child was supposed to give you the printout before you left the house. Apparently, my child (along with 80% of the other children) forgot. This meant that I, along with several hundred other parents, had to go to the office to get the schedule and still make it to homeroom by 7:20pm. It was not pretty – let’s just say I did not medal in this event.

Olympic Event #3 – Stair Sprinting: The next and final Back to School Night was just a few days ago for my oldest son. He is in 8th grade and goes to the Middle School. For this event, you just needed to know your child’s homeroom. This time, I made sure I had all of the information before I left the house. Once you are in homeroom, you are given your child’s schedule and a map of the school. The bell rings and you are off. Over the next hour or so, you have to move from class to class – leaving the minute the bell rings and arriving at your destination before the next bell rings, with only ten minutes to sit in the classrooms in between to catch your breath. I don’t know what my son did to upset the scheduling gods, but I had to cross the entire school and go either up or down stairs in between every class. It’s no wonder he is so skinny! By 7th period, I was feeling the burn, but I managed to finish. Bronze.

Even so... It’s worth all the pain and hassle – I absolutely love meeting all my kids’ teachers. I love seeing their schoolwork hung up on the walls. I love hearing about all the topics they will be learning about during the year. I love meeting new parents and seeing parents that I’ve seen at every back to school night for the last nine years. I guess I love back to school night – I’ll just have to make sure and train for it before next year rolls around!

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