Back to School Night…Again?
February 9, 2018
Around 4:45, parents start trickling up to the table that sits at the front of the school, grabbing flyers for second semester’s Back to School Night.
The classroom visits don’t start until 6, but these parents have arrived early for the 5 o’clock information sessions. They have three choices: “College Admissions” in the Learning Commons, “AP Information” in the Gym, and “MiraCosta Options and Programs” in the Theater.
The “AP Information” Session consists of a panel of teachers and students. Senior Charlotte McClelland, one of the students on the panel, said, “I’m here because Mrs. Carolyn Lee, one of the counselors, asked me if I could participate in a panel of AP teachers and students who have participated in AP. It’s for parents who are interested in having both a student’s and teacher’s perspective.” Senior Kenny O’Flaherty-Keese, another student on the panel, said, “I am here to talk about maintaining a school and life balance with AP classes.”
By six, the school (and parking lot) is crowded, because it’s time for the more popular part of Back to School Night — classroom visits. For some teachers, the classroom visits are just like any other day for them. Film and Society teacher Bob Teisher said, “It’s just like my class, I kind of know where I’m going…I just don’t know how I’m going to get there. If I fly by the seat of my pants it tends to be more entertaining.”
When asked how he prepares, chemistry teacher Russ Davidson said, “I don’t prepare. Sometimes I set up an experiment, because I think sometimes the parents are interested in what kind of experiments the kids do in the classroom. Usually I just try and talk to people, say what’s going on.”
However, teachers are not always this laid back about talking to parents. Teisher said, “When I was young, [Back to School Night] scared the crap out of me. It was my most feared night. I had long hair and I didn’t fit your traditional teacher, so I was always worried…now I have no fear. I used to dress up in ties, and now I don’t even change. This is what I’m wearing, unless I decide to put on a different t-shirt.”
Even parents have reason to fear Back to School Night. Carla Roemer, mother of a sophomore girl, said, “It’s a bit of a scavenger hunt, trying to find your way from one class to the next. But I guess that’s part of it, isn’t it? It’s the experience. [My daughter] drew me out a map with walking directions…that helps.”
For the parents, classroom visits seem to be the most important part of Back to School Night. Roger Davy, father of a freshman boy, said, “To me the most important part of Back to School Night is getting to meet the teachers and understanding how they structure their classes, and what the expectation is for the kids, so I have some idea of how he should be working from day to day and week to week.” When asked what her favorite part of Back to School Night was, Roemer said, “I like meeting the teachers and hearing what they say about the classes.”
Max Roemer, husband to Carla Roemer, simply said, “I like to embarrass my daughter. It’s the best night of the year.”