Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chocolate and Power Tools

My middle boy (aka Mr. Childhood Eyebrow Drama) had Back to School Night yesterday evening at his new high school. As the mama, my attendance to this kind of event is basically mandatory, but here's the thing. Even though I know this sounds terrible, the truth is I hate going to high school Back to School Night. 

 I know it's the easiest way to meet all the new teachers of my kid. I understand it's designed to help parents comprehend the expectations and goals of each class. You know what else I know? By the time your kiddo gets to high school, Back to School Night is an exercise in frustration tolerance for parents and teachers alike. It's like a bad episode of the Great Race, but with hundreds of middle age contestants packed into narrow hallways. To say I'm not a fan is an understatement.

You know who has awesome Back To School Nights, though? Elementary schools, that's who. There, you find cute notes on your kid's desk- your little one telling you how much they love you and how they hope you have a nice evening. It's where I saw an ingenious 1st grade teacher pass out chocolate kisses to every parent who walked through her door. Now that's an example of tax dollars well spent. Unlike in high school, the elementary version of Back to School allows you to sit (albeit in an Oompa Loompa sized chair) and relax for 20 to 30 minutes. The teacher goes over everything you need to know, without your ever having to leave the room. 

Unfortunately, that's not how it works in high school. Why can't we have a modified version of that for the big kids? Do we really need to power walk through the halls in 7 minute intervals for an entire evening? Other than reaching our target heart rates, I'm not sure what the benefit is to all that rushing around.

In previous years, I've had the sole pleasure of navigating through these nights. If my math is correct, I've been to dozens of these- more than 30 at last count if you include elementary and middle school programs. This year, however; Graham's work schedule has opened up and he has more free time in the evenings. Despite my look of incredulity, he said he wanted to come along this year to check out the new school. "Besides," he said, "it should be fun."

And, as is usually the case with Graham's intuition, he was right. It actually was fun, seeing it through his eyes. I found myself reconsidering the value of Back To School Night. Perhaps it was important for me to walk through my kiddo's day to appreciate all this school had to offer. We got to see first hand how impressive the wood shop was, with all it's open space and power tools. A definite luxury for a public school system and something you rarely see in Texas anymore. Each teacher we met was professional but friendly. They made every effort to get straight to the point and tell us everything we needed to know in the 4 minutes they were allotted. It was organized, informative,  and relatively painless. I hate to admit it, but it was an evening well spent. I'm glad we went. There's only one thing I would suggest they change for next year- someone should definitely be in charge of passing out Hershey's kisses.

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