A few nights ago was my school's Open House. For parents, it is the opportunity to meet your child's teacher, get informed about the year's goals and objectives, and get a peek at what your child does throughout the day.
For teachers, the day and night of Open House is an exercise in endurance and patience. And for me, Monday was an answered prayer for air conditioning. So once again, for the second day in a row, we headed over to our Media Center and hung out there, waiting for cooler days ahead.
That being said, we had about two hours to reconstruct the classroom and prepare for the meeting of the parents. And write letters, clean desks and take care of the fish tank that was orange, full of fish food the Boys Scouts had dumped into it a few days before.
Plus, I looked like a bum. I knew that I had a lot of cleaning up to do, so I wore crummy jeans and a polo shirt. My filthy hair, pulled back into a pony tail, I was a force to be reckoned with. And, I was about to make a first impression.
I met yet another Language Arts/Reading teacher who will be covering for my beloved co-teacher as she enjoys these last few weeks with her brand new, crawling baby girl.
Yes. On Open House Day.
At least I had the air conditioning going for me.
At the sound of the three o'clock bell, I ran out of school like a maniac, drove to pick up Joshua at school, came home, saw that my aunt had made it to my house okay, ordered pizza, left money for said pizza to feed the kids, jumped in the shower and managed to wash my tresses and shave my legs, put on one outfit, discarded it, put on a winner with coordinating accessories, did my hair, put on my face, kissed my kids goodbye as I barked orders and threats relating to homework and behavior. I made it on time for Andrew's Open House session, the one I stayed at for a total of 15 minutes before I had to head out to my room to prepare the laptop and projector. Thank goodness, John played the concerned, involved parent.
One of the things that I love about Open House is to find the faces of my students in those of their parents. It's almost like a game to me, to pick out the parents and match them to the kids. It is so interesting to see how much some kids look like one parent, or how certain features closely resemble their child's.
More importantly, it's a chance for parents to hear that no matter what, their kids are going to have a great year. That they are doing the best they can, and it is good. That they are not in this alone.
As a child, the thought of my teacher meeting my parents was terrifying. I was a good kid, a great student, but somehow, the thought of my two worlds meeting filled me with anxiety. As a teacher, it is a wondrous thing to be able to tell a parent that their child is doing well, that they are a joy to have in the classroom, that you are proud to be their teacher.
And so, for the sixteenth time in my career, I stood in front of anxious parents, made them laugh, made them think, made them smile.
After all that went on Monday, it was by far, the best part of my day.