Dumbing Down Parenthood:  Kudos for Attending Meet the Teacher Night

Almost all school districts host a "Meet the Teacher" night at the beginning of the school year and ours occurred two weeks ago.  The purpose of these events is an opportunity for parents to meet the teachers and put a face to a name on the schedule.  It’s also there for teachers to provide parents and guardians with a background on some of what’s upcoming during the year; the curriculum that’s being used and what their expectations are for the students.  This in and of itself is refreshing since there’s typically a gaping disconnect between what the kids report and the reality of things.  At our district, the elementary events are scheduled in the late afternoon through early evening with a short interval until the beginning of the high school event, a courtesy extended to parents with kids at both levels.

I raced from Youngest’s event at one school to Middle’s event at the other and while missing the Principal’s opening remarks at the latter, I made it to Middle’s First Block class in time to get the appropriate paperwork and hear the teacher.  What struck me at this session – and through later sessions with other teachers – was the verbal kudos given by the teachers for taking the time from our busy schedules to attend.  While not every teacher mentioned it, I heard it more than once that evening and I’d lay odds that the Principal said something similar in his remarks.  You’re giving me kudos for attending Meet the Teacher night?  Seriously?  While there are some who deserve such because they’ve had to miss second shift work, they’re in the minority.  The rest of us are there because it’s in our best interests as parents and taxpayers to get a gander at what’s in store for the year with our kids; indeed, it’s my expectation to attend unless death or distance keeps me otherwise occupied. 

We live in a district where the parents apparently do give a damn since the parking lot at both schools was full and parents and grandparents flooded the hallways between sessions.  But even then, it was jarring to think that the educators felt it important to recognize us for something that’s as necessary and part of our parental responsibilities as coming to meet the teachers.  Parents have basic elemental responsibilities for the kids – food, shelter, clothing and assuring an education.  While we don’t homeschool the kids, we still have to assure that things are proceeding apace and these sessions are part and parcel of providing that responsibility.  Parents shouldn’t be so dumbed down and out of touch that we have to receive strokes for something as simple as attending a Meet the Teacher event and I can only wonder, what’s being said amongst the educational community that educators need to praise us for something so simple.

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