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Back To School Night Preparation

Updated on September 16, 2014

School Is Like A Journey For Which You Need A Road Map

Back To School Night is the beginning of the map
Back To School Night is the beginning of the map | Source

Back To School

Sitting in Peet's coffee shop everybody is talking about kids, and going to Back to School night.

Today back to school for me means tuition,expensive textbooks, parking permits and proof reading college papers. It's amazing, with email you don't even have to be in the same state to edit your student's papers. Not long ago I was parent going to back to school night and then a teacher.

When I bought my house next door to a local elementary school, I knew that I was buying a house next to a school. It really was no surprise. I vowed that we would not be like people who buy houses near airports, then complained about the noise. When I bought this house I had my license to complain about traffic,noise, people cutting the corner, and children sitting on my retaining wall revoked. Sixteen years I happily sent kids to that school. One son routinely jumped the fence to get to school. Once he threw his backpack over the wrong fence, and the dogs next door ate the pack along with his favorite sweater.

The kindergarten teachers never had to tell me what kids misbehaved at recess. I could hear every thing from my backyard. We did install new windows to quiet the noise. I don't think I ever yelled at my kid over the back fence, but my kids routinely told our dog to quit barking at them.


No Complaining

My license to complain Is still revoked even though my kids are in college and beyond. Sometimes it is tempting to complain, but I don't. When I saw the Back To School Night sign it brought back memories of many Back To School Nights. I thought about how back to school night was time to reconnect with old friends, meet new friends, find out what on earth is going on in the place my kids spend so much time, and eat cookies. Does the PTA still provide cookies?

Teachers Want You To Know

Teachers want parents to know: there is much that you can do together to assure a child has a productive and positive learning experience. There are demands made on teachers by the state and federal government before they even to meet the children in their classes. Lots of the topics teachers have to talk about are not what they would like to be talking about. Teaching to (pass) tests assures next years job, but isn't necessarily good education. Good teachers know that and hate teaching to the test.

Most teachers want parents to participate in their classes. Sometimes just having another adult in the class who can give special attention to a disruptive student can improve that child's whole day. To say nothing of making the teachers life smoother. Kind words and encouragement make a difference. You as a parent may have a PhD, but stapling 20 booklets of poetry may be the exact help a teacher needs. The teacher is not trying to demean parents by asking them to help with menial tasks. Have you ever tried stapling 20 booklets of anything. Cutting out small parts for projects take more time than anyone imagines. It takes time and there is never enough time in a teachers schedule.

Parents please support the teacher. When the teacher asks for work to be done a particular way there is a reason. If the assignment is to write out the complete question, then answer it, it is to help students learn to: follow directions, make sure they have skills to copy correctly and strengthen their handwriting skills. Sometimes watching a child copying questions the teacher can find eye problems too.

Teach your child good habits by being on time. If you are having trouble getting little Sally or Joe out of bed in the morning for school, consider asking your teacher. An experienced teacher will have ideas. A young teacher will get some ideas from other teachers.

Tell your child what to do. If you add O.K. to the end of the sentence you are giving her a choice. If you say, "Put on your shoes. O.K.?" Gives a choice. Just plain "Put on your shoes", does not give a choice. The younger the child the fewer the choices she should be given. "Put your feet on the ground", tells a child what to do. Whereas, "Get off the table is open to interpretation. Believe me, some children will be creative with every thing you say.

Teacher's View Of Back To School Night

Some teachers are terrified of BACK TO SCHOOL night. Even seasoned teachers who have always taught in nice, high parent participation schools look at Back To School night with trepidation. They know generally there will be parents in attendance, the parents will be nice, helpful, listen to them, but they also know there may be a parent who will try to eat them alive.

Teachers in low parent participation schools wonder if anyone will come, or if they do come will the parents be nice, sober, stoned, or violent?

Most teachers dread the loud, scary parent. Teachers who daily relate to twenty-five 8 year old kids are more comfortable with them than with parents.

Teachers may be very nervous around parents, but not with their classes. Please remember, when you are preparing for Back To School Night to be kind to teachers.

Prepare For Back To School Night With This To Do List.

Do GO to back to school night.

Do arrive on time and if you can't, come in quietly.

Do introduce yourself to the teacher.

Do listen to the teacher carefully.

Do take a picture of the board with all the information.

Do be polite to your teacher(s). Teachers often relate far better to children than to adults.

Do get teachers email and telephone information.

Do sign up to help if you can. Sometimes teachers have work they can send home, so do ask.

Do network with other parents. Knowing other parents help build life long bonds.

Things Not Do At Back To School Night

Do not monopolize the teachers time. Teachers usually have anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to tell you their whole game plan for the year.They are not being mean if they don't spend lots of time with you. Frequently teachers haven't had dinner and their principals give them a hard stop time. The district has to pay overtime for the custodian and for night use of the school.

Do not confront the teacher at back to school night with a problem. There is a time for meeting with teachers - tomorrow or the next day. There are 25 or more parents in the class and only 1 teacher.

Do not go directly to the principal with a grievance tonight. Following the chain of command is less likely to create carnage in the wake of a small problem.

The Reason Behind Back To School Night

Back to School Night is your introduction to the school year. You meet the P.T.A. board, principal, and teachers who will tell you the general structure of the school culture. It is only an introduction. Listen carefully, take notes, introduce yourself to the teachers and principal. Look for ways you can be helpful. Plan to contact your teacher in two or three days to offer any special talents you may have or discuss a grievance.

Every business has a line of responsibility. Schools work that way also. Please when you have an issue begin with the teacher. If necessary then include the principal. Hopefully you won't have anything so drastic that you need to go to the superintendent of school or the school board, but they are there to take care of problems.


Have You In The Past Or Do you now go to Back To School Night Each Year?

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When You Go To Back To School Enjoy My Garden.

I plant some of the garden outside the fence, and spend as much time there after school as possible. When there are little kids climbing on the retaining wall, I say, "Hi there, you know this retaining wall is not too strong. Please stay off. Do not climb on it. Do you know what kind this plant is?" Then the science lesson begins. Perhaps there will be a lesson on composting. Sometimes I teach the proper technique for pulling weeds or how important bees are to a garden. Sometimes there is a nice conversation about what the kids have in their gardens. The kids gladly get off the wall. Sometimes my presence and conversation keeps the kids from worry when mom or dad is late.

There has been a time or two when my cell phone was offered to a child left waiting for a long time. One or twice I have walked a child back to the school office if the parent is really late..

When you go to Back to School Night enjoy my garden. Thank you for teaching your sons and daughters to respect other people's property. If you would like a taste, please ask and I will gladly give you a tomato or some chard.

The Garden Outside The Fence

Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard | Source


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Lipnancy, thanks for the votes.

      stars, wish I had been so wise when the kids were little. Now I have to keep up for the grandson.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Interesting hub. You seem to know a lot about school matters. You are a great parent. GBY.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Awesome hub about staying involved with your children and your community. Voted Up and Shared.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      There are many, many parents that need to read this hub and heed the words of wisdom here. Parental involvement keeps communication open and that helps your children more than anything else!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting. P.S. Nice garden.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful share and here's to so many more from you.


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      This is a wonderful reminder to get involved in your local school. Loved your suggestions..Thank you..

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      A great hub showcasing back to school nights. Memories of children growing up always brings warmth and happiness to an otherwise dull day. Supporting teachers is very important and we should do what we can to help. Great hub, voted up.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Jackie, LOL The dogs were really friendly to people they just didn't like UFO's landing in their yard.

      Faith Reaper, I hang out with several teachers who are amazing and totally unidentifiable when they are with parents. One friend has wondered if she can video tape her talk so she doesn't have to give it when the parents are there she gets so tongue tied when they are near. She is never at a loss for words when it comes to middle school kids.

      Thanks for visiting dear friends.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This was very interesting. Wow about the book bag, glad your son didn't go over the wrong fence!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      Very insightful hub! All my children are grown and I do remember those "Back To School Nights." It is important to think about this from the teacher's perspective for sure. Interesting hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper