Back To School Night

We had Back to School night Thursday. This is the night when I get to tell the parents of my students how I plan on running my classroom, what my expectations for their children--and them--will be, and answer questions.

My favorite part of my half-hour presentation (off the cuff, of course) is when I tell the parents I do not need them to volunteer in my classroom. I get some strange looks. Then I tell them it's because I was hired to do a job, and if I need their help, I should probably be fired so they can get a competent teacher in the classroom. Then I get even stranger looks. Then I remind them that they do not need me hanging out in their workplace, giving suggestions or volunteering. Then the looks turn to smiles, and the heads start to nod in agreement. It's my classroom (for now) and unless they have a problem with me, they should just let me run it the way I want (go ahead and tell me I'm wrong. But I'm not.)

I am serious about volunteers. The notion of volunteering has morphed into some meme that says "teachers can't do it alone. They need partners, and who better than the parents!", which is false. The partnership between families and schools is like the partnership between patients and doctors. Students (patients) follow the prescriptions of the teacher (doctor) in order to reach a desired goal. Yes, students (patients) must be actively engaged, but not engaged in doing my (or the doctor's) work; they need to be engaged in doing their work, like I am engaged in doing mine.

I find it insulting as a teacher, and scary as a parent, to think that teachers need parents to help. The only thing I need parents to do is raise their kids up right. If you want to donate a plant, or a refrigerator, or some field trip funds, great. Do it. You want to plan a Christmas party, no. This is a school, not your Christian living room.

So, I guess I tricked myself by posting the I Got Nuthin, cuz then I got the preceding!

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