Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Back to School From the Parent Side

Last night I attended my daughter's Pre-K Back to School night.  She attends a Christian nursery school a few miles from our house that also houses a K-8 school.  After blogging recently about Back to School Night, I couldn't help but critique the presentations and see if I could walk away with any new knowledge of what to and not do at my own B2SN (Yes, I over analyze EVERYTHING!)

Whole School Presentation by the Principal:

Obviously a veteran of B2SN.  She used a PowerPoint presentation effectively.  It wasn't fancy with tons of images and designs, but what was very good was that she didn't include much verbiage (I hate when everything a speaker is telling you is on a handout or PowerPoint and then they say what you can read word for word).  She bulleted the important points on the screen and added depth with her oral presentation.

She spoke calmly and with an affectionate authority about the kids and what happens at the school.

The only problem came late in the presentation when as she took in a breath a parent felt it was her opportunity to  ASK A QUESTION (I did not mention this in my original blog about B2SN, but it has happened to me also, the brief pause gives someone, probably an A-type personality, to force a question into the presentation).  The question in itself was for a point of clarification and would more than likely have been asked at the end of the presentation.  The next question wasn't.

Since it was now open season for questions, another woman complained that her child did not get the snack with her school ordered lunch one day.  If it was an ongoing problem, I could see asking it in front of the whole group to see if other parents had the same problem.  All this question does is gets other parents worried about something that they shouldnt be worried about.  If this was a major issue, a phone call to the school should have happened the next day after the incident.

The principal's response was basically (paraphrase here) "Mistakes happen".  She said it pleasantly yet strongly in a a manner that one could not take offense.  I was VERY impressed by the principal.

The PreK Classroom

First, I followed my own rules, I DID NOT ask a question or have a parent teacher conference with the teacher on B2SN.

We then went to the classrooms.  All the parents had to sit on seats a foot from the floor.  (Yes, my knees ache today)

My daughter's teacher mostly stuck to a "Specifics of the Class" presentation with some "Big Picture" talk about what the students will be learning for the whole year.  She didn't present much about herself (years experience, family, education background, etc.) but I guess she sent home a welcome letter (Alisa saw it) with that info.  I realized for me, I do want to hear a little about my child's teacher's road to the classroom since she will be spending so much time with my kid over the next year.  It would be nice to know about her, the person.

The teacher had a nervous laughter when she presented.  It wasn't distracting but actually added to what she was saying, because being nervous shows she cares that she doesn't mess up presenting herself to the parents of those valuable possessions we are entrusting to her on a daily basis.

I also appreciated that she not only told us what she did, but WHY she does it.  A good teacher has a lot of activity for their kids, a great teacher knows and can easily explain why she does it.

At the end of her presentation she said how she missed each one of our kids when she was out sick the day before and prayed for each one of them throughout the day.  It was the only thing she said without looking at the notes in her hand which added to the authenticity of the statement; it wasn't just said because you say those things at back to school night, she said it because she meant it.

When we left, she had us go in the hallway and there were hanging pictures by our children and we had to guess which one was ours, names were on the back.  It was a nice activity to end the night and allowed us to mix and laugh with the other parents as we all guessed wrong.

A teacher who loves what she does, loves the kids she works with, and plans way to make them grow in grace and knowledge is a great teacher in my book.

Way to go Mrs. Rodriguez!

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