Friday, September 11, 2009

Open House

Wife and I made the annual trek to our high school’s Open House last night. With Younger Son, our last child, now a junior, this was our next-to-last visit.

We opted to skip the big convocation at first and just go for the classroom visits. I know, I know, we are probably just cheating ourselves and when we don’t know something that’s going on at school we will have nobody to blame but ourselves

BUT this is our third and final child to go through the school system and we have sat through, ad nauseum, the speeches where they introduce all the principals and teachers, then plead for money, countless times. We know the teachers and principals by now. We give the money they ask for. Haven’t we earned the right not to sit through this?! And you know Wife and I are big rule followers and it took a lot of discussion for us to get our consciences clear enough to skip it. But we did and we’re OK.

Anyway, the way they conduct the Open House AFTER the boring meeting is by giving you a copy of your child’s schedule and letting you walk through it, going to each class for about seven minutes. Bells ring and everything. During your “lunch” and “study hall” you can loiter in the halls and visit with other parents – you don’t even need a pass.

To be doubly bold last night, we even skipped a class (Wife and I are definitely living on the edge)! It’s Weights and Kinesiology and Younger Son takes it as an elective so, in the off-football season, he can do his workouts and not have to stay after school. We’ve met the teacher and we know what they do in class. Besides, it was way on the other end from where we were.

The rest of the night we followed the rules to the letter, attended every class and learned what was expected of Younger Son. (This is, of course, so we could go home and interrogate him about everything).

To say things have changed since I was in school would be a gross understatement. Every teacher has a website and e-mail address. Many of the assignments are e-mailed from student to teacher. One of Younger Son’s current tasks is to prepare a Power Point presentation about the “gilded era” of the late 1800s. Good thing I don’t have to do that.

One of the coolest things about technology in the classroom is the advantages it gives students. If you forget to take a textbook or assignment home, you can more than likely find what you need online. Yes, even many of the textbook units are available at the click of a mouse and most of the teachers post the assignments on their websites. This eliminates the 9 p.m.-or-later frantic phone calls and/or visits to friends, begging them to borrow their book or assignment. We have been on both ends of that one through the years.

The Open House is really a lot of fun. I enjoy walking the hallways and sitting in the desks, pretending I am a student again (but thankful I am not). We are blessed to be in a superb school district with top-notch teachers who really care about students succeeding. The corollary to that is, in our community, we also have great parents who are supportive of the schools. The halls were so crowded last night with moms and dads that you could hardly move. What a great message that sends.

As we left, Wife commented with relief that no teacher shrieked, gasped or widened his/her eyes when we disclosed whose parents we were. That represents extreme progress from the time we first met Younger Son’s kindergarten teacher eleven years ago, who told us we had a very “active” (translated: wild) child and it would be very nice if he would “learn to use his inside voice.” I remember smiling politely and assuring her we would work on that.

I knew full well that this teacher would soon learn that Younger Son came to this earth equipped with only one voice -- kind of like indoor/outdoor carpet -- with one volume, with no control switch. I figured she could learn to live with that just as I had. And I really don’t think her sudden decision to retire that year had anything to do with that.


Kelly said...

Bob, I am sitting here smiling as I picture you and your wife having this conversation:

"Do you really think it will be okay if we skip the convocation? No, really... are you sure??"

You're on the countdown to that empty nest, Bob. Somehow I think your wife is going to take it better than you.

Pam said...

You rule-breakers you!! LOL!

Actually, last night, amid a HUGE downpour that began 30 min. before we left the house, we attended our first middle school open house.

Connor's in 6th grade, a newbie at middle school. With his issues, and despite the fact he's, more-or-less, in contained classroom settings with special education teachers, this is the start of a journey that's FAR removed from his comfort zone.

The transition ( he's not good at transitions ) has been much smoother than anyone expected.

Anyway, Trish and I took the boys and ran his schedule. The school was full of drowned-rats like us ( we're talking backstroke weather) and I shuddered to think what it must be like to be back in middle school!

Thank God for NO age regression! :)

Yep, school is light years away from your days, and eons away from mine.

Last week we did open house at Sam's elementary. One of the main differences was the size of the kids and the desks. *grin*