The new school year is here, y’all, and that means open house or parent night is just around the corner. Here’s the thing about that, though. We teachers dread it. We don’t really want to be there. Like, at all. Especially if we’ve already been at school since 7 am, keeping children or teenagers from killing each other all while targeting 8 state standards in 59 minutes and promoting positive self-worth.
It’s 8 pm, we’re tired, we have a stack of shit to grade and this week’s lessons to prepare, the dog desperately needs to go out, we can’t stomach another frozen entree today, we haven’t seen our own children since this morning when we threatened to flush the gerbil down the toilet if they didn’t get dressed alfuckingready and stop making everybody late, these goddamned high heels were such a terrible idea, we just spent the past 45 minutes trying to get the gum somebody so hilariously left on our chairs off our asses, and we have to be right back in this godforsaken spot in fewer than 11 hours again tomorrow. The last thing we want to do is feign excitement and energy when what we really need is a hot bath, a glass of dry red, and some quality jammy time.
But we will. We’ll do it. Because we want you to rest assured that we’re a lot peppier and more welcoming and genuinely happy to be around your children at 9 am than we feel like being at 9 pm when we find ourselves standing before you. All we ask is that you do a few things in return.
Like arrive to our classrooms and have a seat on time. How would you like it if we sauntered in 5 minutes late, made a bunch of noise while waving obnoxiously to the other parents in attendance, and acted all indignant that you had started without us? You wouldn’t like that. You wouldn’t like that at all.
Neither would you like it if we began scrolling through our smart phones or answered a phone call and commenced a super loud conversation about The Bachelor in the middle of your presentation. I mean, seriously? Why? Just why?
And I don’t think it’s too much for us to ask that you attempt to dress like you’re actually in public. Really, what’s with the hole-y sweatpants and stained wife beater or, worse, the stripper top and hooker heels? This is an institution of learning. Your kids aren’t allowed to dress like that, and neither should you.
Also, please try to look like you don’t want to stuff us in your trunk and murder our unborn children. Maybe you don’t want to be there, either. Hey, I get it. But looking at us like we’re worse than pond scum is disheartening and, if we’re being honest, a little scary. You don’t have to plant a creepy clown smile on your face or anything. Just maybe try to be conscious of that furrowed brow and curled lip is all.
I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t kill you to laugh at our attempts at comedy or smile when we share a lesson plan or activity we’re excited about, either. Truth be told, we’re probably a bit nervous to be putting ourselves out on display like that. We’re experts at commanding the attention of and wowing youngsters, but we may not be so suave with adults. You have no idea how reassuring your positive body language can be for us.
And for God’s sake, quit interrupting our presentations with uber-specific curriculum questions and hypothetical scenarios. We know just as well as the next guy how important it is to look smart and impressive to our peers, but this isn’t winning you any awards — with them or with us. This is supposed to be a general overview of classroom routines and learning expectations, not a test of our mastery of pedagogy. We’re happy to answer your questions and explain every detail of our qualifications, just at a more appropriate time.
Moreover, please don’t expect us to know everything there is to know about your kid. Chances are, we’ve only had him or her in class for a week or two at this point, and in case you hadn’t noticed, s/he’s not the only one on our roster. Yes, getting to know our students’ unique needs, accomplishments, and individual personalities is so important to us. Truly, it is. And we’re trying so hard to do just that! It’s just that these things take time, and between attending the never-ending beginning-of-school faculty meetings and inservices and performing at things like open house, we haven’t had much of an opportunity yet.
And whatever you do, please don’t linger at the end of the night. We’re so tired. SO TIRED! And all we want to do is get home to our families, our pets, and our beds before turning back around and doing it all over again tomorrow morning. There will be plenty of chances for us to chat about school and get to know one another this year. Promise.
Look, parents. I know it may not sound like it, but we love what we do — most importantly the part where we get to work with your children. And we want you to know all about what we’re doing in the classroom and teaching your kids. We just also happen to want you to know exactly how difficult being there all day and night is, that we’ve put a lot of time and effort into preparing something to acquaint you with what you and your children can look forward to this school year, and that there are some small and very simple things you can do to make this task that much easier on us.
So with all that said, here’s to a fun and rewarding journey together! (But not before we get some sleep. We seriously can’t even feel our eyeballs anymore.)