things about open school night that bug me

We scooted to the middle school last night, for open school night for Youngest.
As this was my eighth time making this pilgrimage I was less than enthusiastic.
Youngest is being taught by most of the teaching team who taught Middle, which only added to my boredom.

I am so tired of hearing the I Teach Middle School Because I LOVE This Age speech.
I'm glad all those people are doing what they want to do but this speech loses its sincerity year after year. Yes, middle-schoolers are wonderful, interesting, almost-adults, but I'm sick of hearing about how magical 11 - 14 is.

I am tired of hearing that the scope of the social studies curriculum is too far reaching (from the ancient Mayans to World War 1) due to state mandates and testing. It's been that way for decades, write a lesson plan and deal with it. I guess you'll have to skim over some stuff, but it's has little to do with the parents in the room and we want to hear about your exciting plans to teach about Mayan civilization.

Just stop whining about class sizes being so large, there's nothing we can do about it. Some of my children's best years were spent in packed classrooms with few materials and wonderful teachers. Our classrooms have two sets of text books for each child so they don't have to carry the weighty tome back and forth to school - the class size can't be hurting too much. (That class had 27 students.)

Also, why are there microwave ovens and small refrigerators in most classrooms? What happened to keeping your lunch in the teacher's lounge?

For the most part the team presented themselves well - I appreciate teachers who wear skirts and shirts. Youngest has two old timers, his math teacher has been in the district for 38 years but seems to still have a twinkle in her eye as opposed to his science teacher, also a 30 year veteran who made me want to gauge my eyes out with a spoon.

And don't get all agitated, internet, if I told you how much money the average Tuvaluan teacher makes per year, your mouth would hang open. HANG I TELL YOU.

I'm sure there's more that stuck in my craw but now I can't remember it.

It was fun to have K along with me though, now he knows who Youngest and I are talking about - and even more fun to hop on the scooter and ride away from it all.


Anonymous said…
How nice to read about your shool nights...I am currently doing homework with my son, 1st grader...he's having LOTS of trouble learning to I would LOV to be bored wiht yoru middle school!
BTW I can't seem to open your blog, had to go through the blogger site
jenny said…
next week we've got two open houses and one school committee meeting...

are you up for a road trip on the scooter?
Anonymous said… can tell I'm nervous...look at all my typo errors...
we actually just finished!
Anonymous said…
Seriously? I think that "I love middle schoolers" thing must be in a book somewhere, because we heard it at nearly every school we applied to and have heard it at both back-to-school nights now at the school the boy is in.

And it is boring and probably a bunch of crap. I mean, it is clearly said for its alleged shock value. "Love middle schoolers? But they're so (insert unflattering description here)! No one loves middle schoolers!"

Anonymous said…
Would my mouth hang open because they make so much money? or so little? much, right? Tuvalu seems like they'd pay their teachers a lot.
Anonymous said…
God! You parents sound so jaded! No wonder that one dad was jiggling his leg during my entire presentation at our back-to-school night here in the barrio. We're boring the shit out of you guys!

I must defend my fellow teachers. The reason why many of us have microwaves and little refrigerators on our room is that we usually don't have time to make the trek all the way to the teacher lounge. I have never once eaten in the teacher lounge. I check my email while I eat or work on lesson plans.

We're dedicated, I tells ya!
lu said…

Sorry, but this post and some of the comments are a bit of a slap in the face.

Reasons for microwaves and refrigerators in classrooms:

Overheard in the teachers lounge

"I hate these kids...Their parents are apathetic bottom feeders...I can't do anything about it..."

To bad I don't teach in your district, because after 16 years of teaching, my children qualify for free and reduced lunches.

I suppose teachers teach because most of us believe we can do something about "it."

There are some annoying and ineffective teachers, but most of us really feel a desire to do good in the world, and the returns are negligible.

No offense toward you or any of your readers, just defense.
blackbird said…
I think I should clarify my feelings about my open school night post.
Aside from diligently attending open school nights for over 17 years there were other factors at work...
The teachers in Tuvalu have recently signed a contract. They worked without one for nearly two years. The sticking point? The reason for the picketing, the lobbying in the classrooms, the xeroxed sheets slipped into every school concert program, the wearing of slogans every day, was free lifetime health care.
The teachers in Tuvalu, whose salaries start in the mid $40's and usually progress to just over $100,000 per year, who pay less than my husband pays into their health plan, wanted and fought for nearly two years, FREE health insurance FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
The battle was bitter.
The residents of Tuvalu often behaved like entitled and monied bullys.
And so did the teachers.
I was not personally involved in the fight.
I admire teachers very much.
How could I not?
My children's lives are in their hands.
But, during this fight, the teachers acted like spoiled brats.
And I guess I've been left with a bad taste in my mouth.
For nearly two full school years Middle and Youngest watched dvd's in the classroom a couple of days a week.
Middle had cancelled classes at least two days a week as no substitutes would be called in to replace teachers who took every sick day they had in protest.
Teachers picketed the schools, along the road near my house, with signs that said 'Honk if you love your child and support your teachers.'

Teachers deserve the honor and respect due judges, clergy and doctors in my eyes. They house our futures in their rooms.
Free life time health care is deserved by people who risk their lives in their work - police officers and fire fighters.

I'm sure my Favorite and Only Aunt, who taught in a rough school for 35 years, would be ashamed for the way I sounded in my post.
I apologize to her and Mary and Lu.
And, if you lurk here and are a teacher, I apologize to you too.
It's a rare occurrence here - but I let my harsh feelings get the best of me.
lu said…
No apologies necessary, I probably should have waited a beat before posting a comment. As a parent I hear your concerns, I've a few issues with some of my boy’s teachers, as a teacher I hear you and watch myself a bit. And Dang!-Send an application for the Tuvela school district my way. Our ceiling is about 50K unless you give up every waking moment to coach, tutor, monitor, etc...Good lord, it must be Fantasy Island.