Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back To School Night

Last night was Back To School Night, where the parents go to each of their children's classes and hear a 10-minute spiel from the teacher about what can be expected this coming year.

In the past I've spoken for 8 or so minutes and left time for questions.  Unfortunately, each year I always got one of those questions, the kind that make you cock your head at the questioner as if to say, "Really?  Are you freakin' kidding me?"  I know some people believe that the only stupid question is the one that isn't asked, but I'm here to tell you that that's not correct.  There are people out there who ask some really stupid questions, and it taxes me to answer their question whilst being as diplomatic and smiley as possible.

I don't want to be taxed that way.  I'm not a politician.

So last night I tweaked my talk so that it took the entire 10 minutes.  I just talked right up to the bell, and then they went on to the next class.  I know it's not an ideal solution, but it made spending my evening back at work slightly more tolerable.

I'm a terrible person.  So sue me.


KauaiMark said...

"...some really stupid questions"

How 'bout some examples?

Darren said...

From a recent year:
"So, are you saying, that if every student in your class got an F--which would be an indication to me, if I were the teacher, that I didn't teach something well--that you wouldn't throw out those scores or curve them or something, that you'd just have everyone keep an F in the gradebook?"

Nope, no agenda there. Perfectly neutral question.

T-Bone said...

I have reached the same conclusion. I teach near Pittsburgh; next week is our "open house." I will fill every second so as to avoid questions like "my son/daughter has always gotten "A" grades in every other class - why not yours?"

Anonymous said...

How do you not get nervous in front of parents? I always turn red.. :(

mmazenko said...

I've never opened up BTSN for questions - instead encouraging parents to call an email. It's more productive that way, and most parents simply want to see a quick "show" to inspire them that their kids are in good hands.

That said, I attended my first one from the other side this year, as my son is in middle school now. And I have to say I was quite disappointed in many teachers' inability to simply prepare a 10-minute presentation. If they hadn't spent the first two minutes complaining about the time - and giving me their resume or showing pictures of their kids and dog - they could have actually completed the gig in a succinct professional manner.

I mean, how hard can this be?

Left Coast Ref said...

My school recently changed our BTSN protocol to more of an open house. It is brutal. I loved being able to give a speech, maybe do a demo (I teach science) and answering a question or two. Now I have to stand in my room and answer the "So, how is my kid doing?" And I say, "You will have to ask your kid." It really is the worst possible scenario for BTSN. I'd trade "Open House" for stupid questions 100 times out of 100.

Ellen K said...

As an art teacher, my questions are similarly inane, such as "So it's art, how can my kid fail art?" (Let's ignore that we have state standards that include vocabulary, criticism, art history, etc.) "How come we have to buy supplies?" and my favorite, "Do you have a college degree?" Seriously, someone asked me that. How offensive can you get. I too had my ten minute talk last up until the bell.