I hate Open House

Or, at least I did.

Since 1995, I have stood in front of my students’ parents twenty-two times. Usually, in late September or early October, I have watched adults navigate their child’s confusing daily schedule as they go through a “typical” rotation of their son or daughter’s school routine.

Typically, I get about ten minutes to convey my personality, teaching philosophy, expectations, and classroom routines. I also offer a glimpse at the history curriculum that I am responsible for teaching. The night always feels rushed and false. Teaching is part acting and Open House is like a movie trailer for a film the parents will never see.

Open House Night often leaves me feeling unsatisfied.

Maybe it is my age or my perspective as a parent, but last night I actually enjoyed Open House for the first time. The parents were funny, engaging, and most importantly, involved in their children’s lives. Of course, many parents could not or chose not to attend, that is the perennial issue with Open House: teachers often feel like they are preaching to the choir. The parental participants are the parents who don’t always need to meet me.

I remember pleading with my own mother to attend my own Back to School Nights. Not formally educated herself, the mother of a high achieving kid, she did not always see the point of wasting an evening at my school. However, even as a teenager I sensed that “good” parents attended school events, especially Open House. As a reflection of myself, I wanted my mom to be perceived as an involved parent. I wanted to fit into the suburban schools that I attended.

Now I work in a large, suburban school. The families have diverse resources and varying needs. Many parents work evening hours. Other parents do not see the benefit of a high school curriculum night — viewing their adolescent as an independent young adult.

Last night felt different. There were laughter and smiles. It felt like a community. I shook hands of parents for whom I had taught all of their children. I called those parents legacies. I told one father that I loved having siblings because in a big school familiarity breeds connections.

I was different too. In an attempt to liven up the ten-minute “show” I had previously photographed my students holding signs declaring the places in the world where they wanted to travel. I teach Global History and I desperately want to put a pin in my students’ small bubble of experience. I was able to make a short video of the pictures — telling the parents that the kids were hoping that they might get a trip out of their cute pictures. I loved watching the adult’s expressions as they anticipated seeing their baby’s face appear. No matter their age, they are always your baby.

Ultimately what I realized last night is that Open House is an opportunity for teachers to be ambassadors for the survival of public schools. I showed my parents last night that I was a hometown girl, listing only one private institution on a slide of images of the public high school and college that I attended and the two public schools for which I have been employed. I wanted my students’ parents to know that public schools promote excellence and are filled with enthusiastic, compassionate teachers.

My activism and the march for public education this past July has renewed my faith in public schools and has given me a sense of purpose. Open House, although nerve-wracking and incredibly flawed, is an opportunity for teachers to spread the “good” word of public education.

Maybe next year I will actually look forward to Open House.

#whyweM4PE

https://www.marchforpubliced.org/

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Critical Classrooms, Critical Kids

Challenging the forces that are taking creativity and inspiration out of the classrooms.

teacherbiz

Public school teacher and fan of public education. Not a fan of privatization, high-stakes testing, or bad "reform."

pernilleripp.wordpress.com/

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension

Round the Inkwell

the blog of Carol Burris

Tabby Ren Elle

the Gratitude Journal of a Music Warlord

TeachingIsTheWorst

Destroying education, one student at a time.

Filling the pail

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - As W. B. Yeats never said

laurarisdall

Parenting with FAITH and FUN!

ELA Brave and True

It's Language Arts, Not Language Science.

I Love You but You're Going to Hell

Awkward Conversations about School and Society

little word studio

arts + entertainment blog

The Educators Room

Empowering Teachers as the Experts

The Conversation Room

Ideas worth exploring

From Mage Mind

When a mage is sharing what's on his mind. Business, Motivation, Positive life, Success, Marketing and Good Ideas.

Emeka Ofili

Inspiration and gospels

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Supporting public schools and the children they serve

radical eyes for equity

Confronting "our rigid refusal to look at ourselves" (James Baldwin)

Urban Education Mixtape

... A Strong Rhyme to Step To

KATIE MARTIN

Inspired by research, refined by practice

Education Rickshaw

International Teaching in Motion

Get Schooled

Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation and share opinions and news with Maureen Downey.

Cloaking Inequity

A blog focused on education and social justice

Growing Children

A teacher’s blog about the art of helping children grow--at home, at school and in the garden.

WilliWash

A Magazine That Delves Into All Things LIFE.

theundergroundeducator

A fine WordPress.com site

In Dianes Kitchen

Recipes showing step by step directions with pictures and gadget reviews

My Best Laid Plans

Where Brokenness and Grace Collide

By: Jamaal A. Bowman

Public Schools Rule!

Corey R. Payne

@coreyrpayne

LitLearnAct

Two Literacy Teachers Learning and Sharing in the Blended Learning Classroom

motherwellmagdotcom.wordpress.com/

Telling all sides of the parenting story

Diary of a Deelexia Mom

Blog about life with amazing kids.

EduBloggers

Dedicated to truth-telling for democracy.

Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé

An insider's look at education, teaching, parenting and coming of age.

Teacher as guide

Rethinking the purpose of school and the role of the teacher

gaylecosby

What's happening with public education in Indianapolis.

Jonathan Camac

Student of Life. Advocate for serious joy in Christ.

Holy and Chic Mama

A motherhood and lifestyle blog

The happy Quitter!

It started when I gave up smoking and went from there!

%d bloggers like this: